Android search choice screen is needed to tackle Googles market power, says Australias ACCC

Google’s grip on the local search market is also hampering new business models emerging — such as subscription options that don’t rely on ads (and data-mining users) to monetize Internet search.

Australia could be next to mandate a choice screen in a bid to break Google’s dominance of the search market.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is recommending it is given the power to “mandate, develop and implement a mandatory choice screen to improve competition and consumer choice in the supply of search engine services in Australia”.

A new report by the country’s competition watchdog concludes that interventions are needed to boost competition in the local search engine market and address harms flowing from Google’s circa 94% market share of search in Australia, such as barriers to entry for other competitors and the risk of lower quality services with what it dubs “undesirable features” — like more sponsored content vs organic search results…

Google’s grip on the local search market is also hampering new business models emerging — such as subscription options that don’t rely on ads (and data-mining users) to monetize Internet search.

The report gives the example of Neeva, a new, subscription-based search engine — which advertises itself as “the only ad-free private search engine” — and (unlike Google most other search engines) has no ads or affiliate links in search results —  thereby offering “a different value proposition that consumers may desire”, in the regulator’s assessment.

“Google’s foreclosure of key search access points through the arrangements discussed in this Report limits the ability of these businesses to grow, and consumers’ exposure to new and potentially attractive business models,” the ACCC concludes.

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