Search engine choice screen to stop Google
Australian internet users would be urged to choose a mandatory screen search engine as part of efforts to break Google’s dominance.
On Thursday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission asked him to be given the power to develop the screen, as set out in its third interim report into the digital platform services investigation.
The report, which examines search engine selection screens like those in Europe, argues that the default settings strengthen Google services.
ACCC President Rod Sims said the innovation stifled and reduced consumer choice.
He said consumers may not be aware of search engines that protect user privacy or have an eco-friendly goal. Examples are DuckDuckGo and Ecosia on the topic of trees.
Mr Sims said a competitive search market could benefit consumers by having fewer sponsored search results, better data protection and other rewards.
A Google spokesperson said people search using Google because it’s useful, not because they have to.
Google’s Android mobile operating system, used on phones, allows users to personalize their device, he said.
“We continue to review the report and look forward to discussing it with ACCC and the government,” he said.
Google has 94 percent of the search engine market in Australia, according to the ACCC report.
Google has provided a search engine choice screen for Android users in Europe, which has followed the European Commission’s concerns about its dominance.
Regulators around the world are scrutinizing the competitive practices and power of tech giants over a number of issues as they exert growing economic and political influence.
Last year, the Australian government asked the ACCC to conduct a five-year survey on the provision of digital platform services and their impact on consumers.
Reports on online retail markets and a larger one on advertising and competition issues will follow next year.