Google to Overhaul search results in Europe and offer Browser choice

Google are to prompt Android users to choose their preferred browsers and search apps, and overhauling how it displays certain search results in Europe, as the company seeks to allay EU antitrust concerns and ward off fresh sanctions.

On Wednesday, Google will be fined in its third and final antitrust investigation, having already paid €7bn in fines in the two other cases. It is now making pre-emptive changes in the hope that it can avoid a future probe, this time into how it treats its rivals in job searches and local services searches, such as TripAdvisor.

The search giant is also developing plans to ask new and existing Android smartphone users which browser and search app they want to use. The timing and details of the change are still being considered.

The Android change is one of a series Google is making to try to draw a line under the concerns before the arrival of Ms Vestager’s successor.

“We’ve been listening carefully to the feedback we’re getting, both from the European Commission, and others. And as a result, over the next few months, we’ll be making further updates to our products,” said Kent Walker, senior vice-president of Google in a blog post.

Users in the European economic area began last week to see links to rival websites above Google’s answer box for searches for products, jobs or businesses in their local area. The rival links also appear above paid results links to Google’s own services.

Ms Vestager inherited the Google cases when she took office in 2014 and eventually fined the company €2.4bn for unlawfully favouring its own shopping service.

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