Google will now let Russian users pick their default search engine on its mobile browser. Google is no longer the default search engine on Chrome in Russia | Yandex, Mail.ru available
Two years ago, the largest search engine in Russia, Yandex, accused Google of unfairly excluding it from Google’s operating system and services and filed a complaint with the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS).
Yandex has 50 percent market share there, while Google has 45 percent. After a long antitrust battle, the FAS and Google finally reached a settlement this past April: Google had to pay around $6.75 million in fine and promised that it would stop requiring manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices until the end of 2023.
As a part of this settlement, Google will no longer force Russian users to use its search engine on Chrome for Android. Instead, the latest version of Google’s browser will bring up a prompt which will let users choose from Yandex, Google, and Mail.ru:
“In line with the agreement with Yandex and the settlement with FAS, we have instituted a new opportunity for search providers to promote their search services within the Chrome app on Android devices.”
As you can imagine, Yandex is obviously content about this move:
“As one of the largest internet companies in Europe… We are excited that Russian consumers can now easily choose their preferred search engine on their Android devices. As consumers are ever more dependent on their mobile devices for finding information about the world around them, we are excited that Russian users now can now easily choose the search provider best suited to their needs.”
Although the FAS has ruled that Google cannot restrict users from setting other search engines as the default, Google claims that if its hardware partners wish to, they can still ship phones with Google apps pre-installed.
Will other tech country toe Yandex’s path?