Thursday, February 2, 2023



On Android phones, Indians can select the default search engine Google

Google announced on Wednesday that it will permit customers in India to select the default search engine on Android-based devices after failing to obtain a court order to halt an antitrust verdict.

OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) would be able to license specific Google apps for pre-installation on their devices as part of the significant changes the tech giant will make to its platforms and business in India in response to the momentous CCI verdict.

According to the company's blog, Google is also changing the Android compatibility standards to make it easier for partners to create forked or incompatible variants.

On Android phones, Indians can select the default search engine Google

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Google Rs 1,337.76 crore last week for abusing its dominant position with its well-known Android operating system, which runs 97% of the approximately 60 crore cellphones in India. The Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay of the payment.

In a case involving its Play Store policy, CCI assessed the US tech giant a further Rs 936 crore fine.

"We take seriously our pledge to abide by local laws and regulations in India.

Google stated in the blog post that the CCI's most recent instructions for Android and Play "demand us to make major modifications for India, and we've now notified the CCI of how we'll be adhering to their instructions."

The modifications include giving smartphone and original equipment manufacturers the freedom to license specific Google apps for the pre-installation of their products.

The statement read, "Android users always had the option to personalize their devices to fit their preferences.

Indian consumers will soon start to see a choice screen when setting up a new Android smartphone or tablet in India, giving them the opportunity to select their default search engine.

With restrictions including the requirement to pre-install its own apps, Google licenses its Android operating system to smartphone manufacturers.

This requirement was considered anti-competitive, but the corporation claims that these agreements support the ongoing free nature of Android.

Google's Play Store licensing "must not be coupled with the obligation of pre-installing" Google search services, the Chrome browser, YouTube, or any other Google applications, according to CCI's order from last October.

The court decision requested Google to make it possible to remove its pre-installed apps from Android phones, including Google Maps and YouTube, which can presently not be done.

According to Google's blog post, "We're modifying the Android compatibility standards to introduce adjustments allowing partners to produce non-compatible or forked variants."

It said that starting next month, user choice billing would be available to all games and applications. Developers will then be able to provide customers the option of using a different billing system in addition to Google Play's billing system when purchasing in-app digital content.

"Android has always allowed for the installation of programs from a wide range of sources, including sideloading, which is downloading apps straight from a developer's website.

According to the statement, "We recently modified the Android installation flow and auto-updating functionality for sideloaded programs and app stores while assuring users of the potential security risks."

In order to provide more information on the services offered by Google Play and how and when the service fee is applicable, Google said it is also enhancing its web resources, such as Help Center articles and FAQs.

Google claimed that it has the honor of contributing to India's use of technology to enhance lives in three significant ways.

These include making devices more accessible, creating practical and safe products to address the changing demands of Indian customers, and collaborating with India's thriving developer ecosystem to expand and engage a wider audience.

We will uphold our key principles of openness, increasing user choice, giving transparency, and ensuring safety and security that already have benefited the interests of the wider ecosystem, according to the blog post, and we continue to respectfully dispute some portions of the CCI's findings.

Google did clarify that it is making some adjustments in accordance with the CCI's guidelines.

Google states that "implementing these improvements across the ecosystem will be a challenging process and will often require major work from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and developers."

Google stated that it is "undeterred" in its commitment to Indian users and the country's digital revolution.

According to the blog, Google has made a significant contribution to the mobile ecosystem through Android by providing OEMs with unmatched choice and flexibility, providing developers with a baseline level of compatibility that allows them to scale their services across devices, and providing a safe, secure, and reliable platform for users in India and around the world.

Users outside of India would spend 150 percent more time on Google Play in 2021 than they did in 2019, according to the company. "This has helped local developers to build successful companies and attract worldwide markets for their apps and games," it said.

Google added, "We hope to continue to partner in just this journey," saying it thinks technology can help open doors in key sectors of the Indian economy.

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On Android phones, Indians can select the default search engine Google