Google Chrome has pushed-out a new feature – but it’s only available to users in China and Russia
Google has rolled-out a new update to Chrome that changes a fundamental behaviour for the app.
The latest software update brings a new Google Chrome search widget, which can replace the default Google search widget.
The updates follows a ruling by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) that judged Google was violating its market dominance by strong-handing Android OEMs to pre-install Google services onto their devices.
As part of Google’s settlement with the FAS involved building a new Google Chrome search widget to replace its default Google one.
This new addition means users can change the default search engine used by the new widget – transforming the widget into a quick shortcut for any third-party engine provider.
Google will purportedly ask users to choose a default search engine for the Chrome widget when setting up a new device.
Unfortunately this pop-up dialogue box will only be available to users in China and Russia.
Android users can choose a new default search provider within the Chrome homescreen widget
However, some users have been able to access the functionality by downloading Chrome Canary – the experimental (and at times, unstable) version of the browser that gets features much faster than the standard Chrome app.
Changing your device’s locale to Russia, wiping all of the associated data with Canary and adding the search widget to your phone will reportedly trigger the ability to pick a new search provider, according to XDA Developers.
Should the EU determine – as Russia has now done – that Google is leveraging its dominance to get device OEMs to pre-install Google services, this new dialogue could become the standard for Chrome.
The news comes as Google was hit with a colossal €2.42 billion fine by the European Commission after it ruled Google had violated EU anti-trust regulations by inflating their own shopping service results in Google search pages.
The Google Chrome widget can be used to execute searches on rival sites, including Yahoo and Bing
The investigation was first launched seven years ago after scores of complaints from rival websites, including Microsoft and Trip Advisor, that the California-based search firm gave its own service a prominent position on its search engine, while rival services were demoted.
Google now has 90 days to stop the practice or face a penalty of up to five per cent of the average daily turnover of the firm’ parent company, Alphabet.
Alphabet has denied they broke the law.
Any other services who have been affected by Google’s practices will be able to bring a civil case against the company, the EU said.
Despite Google’s mission statement being “Don’t be evil”, the European Commission said the company abused its dominance and actively pushed competitors out.
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In a statement, Google hit out at the EU, respectfully saying it will consider an appeal against the decision.
The statement, said: “When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily.
“And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
The huge sum eclipses the previous £1bn (€1.1bn) record fine that fellow tech company Intel was forced to pay in 2009.
European Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives.
“That’s a good thing. But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals.
“Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate.
“And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.
“Google is dominant in all 31 countries of the European Economic Area, even if Google disputes this.
“Google has abused its dominance and seriously harmed its competitors.”
Source : EXPRESS