back to article DuckDuckGo cries fowl after being expunged from Google's Android search preferences menu for most of Europe

Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo will no longer appear on Google's European search preference menu for Android in most countries, despite being the most popular choice after Google. The company has complained in response to Google's publication of its latest "choice screen winners". In 2019 Google agreed to provide …

  1. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Is this why I've seen DuckDuckGo advertisements on hoardings recently?

  2. Rol Silver badge

    Firefox came bundled with my Linux Mint distro and it gave me several options for search provider including Duck Duck Go. That was on my PC, but I like to think if I were ever to go wandering down that dark and treacherous avenue where I re-enable the internet and app goo on my mobile, I would be able to similarly install Firefox and get Duck Duck Go.

    1. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

      You could, but a) you wouldn't be shown any menu at startup to choose, instead your device would just route everything through google by default, which is what's important here because having a default and showing no menu will cause most people to just use that default, and b) if you wanted to use a chrome-based browser for some reason there would be no easy way to choose DDG as the default (or at least this was true the last time I tried to use a chrome-based browser on android).

      1. gzgweilo

        Choose browser

        "and b) if you wanted to use a chrome-based browser for some reason there would be no easy way to choose DDG as the default (or at least this was true the last time I tried to use a chrome-based browser on android)."

        You can just download Brave and Firefox apps (or even DDG I think?) and set one as default browser and make search engine choices from there - DDG and Startpage for me usually.

        I go further and delete Google from my android phone completely which is not for everyone but normally, depending on the phone, it is not that difficult to get rid of the google browser.

        1. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

          Re: Choose browser

          Well... I mean... the quote you're replying to begins with "if you wanted to use a chrome-based browser"...

          ...But yeah, sure, I suppose if we're completely ignoring people's preferences then your advice is perfectly sound.

    2. Tempest

      Why Not . . .

      Just install the DDG Browser?

      1. JCitizen Bronze badge
        Go

        Re: Why Not . . .

        From what I understand, DDG is an extension, not a browser. I have mine installed on Chrome, and I love it!

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "The winners get the privilege of paying Google each time a user selects them from the menu."

    I'd like to see an option for the user (you know, the guy or girl that actually does stuff on the kit) to add or remove their own choice of search engines from the list.

    "Choice" is a fraud when you get handed a limited set of alternatives by someone else.

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

      Re: "The winners get the privilege of paying Google each time a user selects them from the menu."

      "Choice" is a fraud when you get handed a limited set of alternatives by someone else who is making money from providing those alternatives.

      TFTFY.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "The winners get the privilege of paying Google each time a user selects them from the menu."

      I've never seen the selection screen on Android, even though I have set up half dozen Android devices since the decision.

      But the first thing I do on any new phone is set DuckDuckGo as my default search engine and Firefox as my default browser.

      I actually go so far as to disable nearly all Google services on the phone.

      But Google's solution is taking the proverbial. Imagine, if Microsoft hat charged for the browser ballot? I think this is absolutely disgusting and I am aghast that the EU didn't put its foot down to stop Google from profiting from the remedial action, it is supposed to be a punishment, not a new profit centre.

      1. Psmo Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: "The winners get the privilege of paying Google each time a user selects them from the menu."

        It took them so long to get that far, I wouldn't be surprised if the guts for the fight were lacking by the time the 'solution' was proposed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google simply does not care.

    They 'own' the software platform. Google will do what Google wants to maximise their data slurping and subsequent income.

    Barstewards.

    1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Google simply does not care.

      Oi! No insulting the people bringing me my Friday libations.

  5. GidaBrasti
    Unhappy

    DDG != Bing ?

    Isn't DuckDuckGo using Bing! in the background? So apart from privacy (questionable), you never get what you wanted. No surprise Google comes first.

    And yes, I did use DuckDuckGo for a couple of years before it went Bing!.

    Unhappy because the choice is good results but no privacy vs bad quality searches.

    1. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

      Re: DDG != Bing ?

      Isn't DuckDuckGo using Bing! in the background?

      [citation needed]

      Even if they do, that doesn't mean they're not protecting your privacy. They're a damn sight better than google. But I'll be curious to see your citations.

      No surprise Google comes first.

      Indeed - they own the OS. Which means that they get to a) can put themselves in first place regardless of user preferences and how much other providers pay, and b) not pay anything to get themselves listed. Unlike every. other. search provider on the planet.

      choice is good results but no privacy vs bad quality searches

      I've had DDG as my default for maybe a decade now. In maybe one out of every 50 searches I don't find what I'm looking for and have to use another search engine. I wouldn't call that "bad quality" at all.

      1. Ozan

        Re: DDG != Bing ?

        Yeah When I started using, DDG decetae ago. Still better search result. And they use several sources from bing to google and their own system.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Search results

        I've been using DDG and Qwant for various years. At first, when I couldn't find easily what I was looking for I tried it in Google or Bing and couldn't find it either. After a short while I stopped trying in Google and Bing.

      3. Barry Mahon

        Re: DDG != Bing ?

        You found the answer using the same search terms? I've had some issues with DDG, but usually I change the search logic and find an answer. Notice "an" not "the"

        FWIW search algorithms are not foolproof, but I am sure you know that.....

        1. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist

          Re: DDG != Bing ?

          That's a good point. No, not always. And I'll often try more than one DDG search before I try another engine.

    2. DenTheMan

      Re: DDG != Bing ?

      As far as I know it has always been 99% Bing. The other ones it uses are of irrelevance 99% of the time.

      I would assume or to be more correct, guess, feeds Bing to improve Bing, And for that service to Microsoft DDG gets 100% free Bing access.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: DDG != Bing ?

      They started off as an anonymiser for Google search, putting your query to Google, but not providing any tracking information to Google.

      Over time, they've started using other search engines as well.

  6. Dr AntiSol, astrophysicist
    WTF?

    The winners get the privilege of paying Google each time a user selects them from the menu. "This auction remedy, proposed by Google, was constructed to make Google money, not to provide meaningful consumer choice,"

    Yeah. It shocks me that this scheme has apparently been negotiated and approved with the EU. Even looking at it at a surface level it's pretty blatantly unfair and biased in google's favour (both in terms of search preference AND in raising them revenue). The ideas of showing only 4 options and auctioning off those spaces is ridiculous. Especially when one of these options is always google, and the amount they're bidding in the auctions is $0.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Yeah. It shocks me that this scheme has apparently been negotiated and approved with the EU.

      Well, looking at the last two European Commissions, it doesn't surprise me one bit.

      It would be an understatement to say that the worst enemy of European citizens and the EU are the Commission and the Council.

  7. Rich 2 Silver badge

    This is tiring.....

    The EU should never have allowed googlies to use this “solution” to the problem. It was bleedin’ obvious it was bollocks.

    But, it seems like most of the recent attempts by the EU to get the likes of googlies and faecesbook etc to behave, it’s a half-arsed plan that takes years to come to fruition and when it finally does, it’s shown to be completely inadequate.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: This is tiring.....

      They should do what the US do and Summon the CEOs and Spokespeople before Congress which they then treat with all the respect Congress deserves.

  8. xyz123

    PrivacyWall is a scam. Pushing what should be illegal ads saying you have to PAY to register to vote.

    it probably doesn't help that via very shady means they appear to be an alphabet-owned subsidiary company which funnels data directly to alphabet's datacentres....

    1. DS999

      That's probably Google's way to get around the rules

      Have a shell company own a "competitor" so true competitors that are poisonous to Google's business model like DDG are left out in the cold.

  9. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    Yahoo!? Is that thing still around?

    1. teebie

      ..and doing better than Bing?

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    OS provider uses monopoly to put search engine in dominant position! Read all about it!

    The question arises - Google are fully aware they will lose and challenge based on the IE/NN case, so what are they doing differently to cover their arses? Or are they just making so much money that the fine at the end will be tiny compared to the extra income generated while the case is rolling on?

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Never heard of PrivacyWall so let's give it a try..

    Hmm. It overlays the home page with an advert for its Firefox addon. With NoScript blocking the site the ad won't remove itself. Admittedly the ad only seems to be on the home page but it's not a good first impression for something with its particular claims.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As I told you before ..

    .. Google is following the old Microsoft playbook to the letter.

    Been there, seen it and admired the current pointlessness of EU's attempts at regulating companies that can buy the whole of Brussels outright before.

    The flaws start with the fact that honest politicians generally don't rise to a level where they can be dangerous, and it's downhill from there.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Tempest
    Pirate

    It's Simple - Google Can't be Trusted

    Google can't be trusted. Period.The only services that we use are Maps (which Google redacts data or adds false data); and translate (which it captures}. Ever checked the length of Google search expressions? Little wonder the InterNet is slow.

    It sleeps with Government agencies. it shares search data, as in volunteering search data to the (without warrant}.

    The only complaint I have with the Duck is the length of it's URL.

    Even if Google scoops data through the Android OS, it likely doesn't on our hand phones, they don't even have SIMs (yet we still get full service)

  15. J*

    I can see a duck

    DuckDuckGo now appears to be 3rd on the list on PLAY store.???

  16. J*
    Trollface

    I can see a Duck

    DuckDuckGo is no.3 on PLASY store

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