Microsoft's Bing, PrivacyWall and Info.com were among the search engines that won a quarterly auction by Alphabet's Google to show up as search options on new Android devices in 31 European countries.
Google offered to allow competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page on Android devices after the European Union in 2018 fined the company billions for violating antitrust rules.
The company started declaring quarterly auction results from March to offer users three providers alongside Google. Google and the auction winners will be ordered randomly in the choice screen on a user’s device.
In the latest October-December auction, Bing won the rights in 13 countries, Puerto Rico-based PrivacyWall in 22 countries and U.S.-based Info.com got all 31 countries. Other winners included independent search engine DuckDuckGo, Germany's GMX and Russian internet giant Yandex.
DuckDuckGo, which won the auction in eight countries, criticised the process, saying it encouraged bidders to exploit users.
"Google's auction further incentivizes search engines to be worse on privacy, to increase ads, and to not donate to good causes, because, if they do those things, then they could afford to bid higher," DuckDuckGo said in a blog post.
Google could not immediately be reached for a comment. I
Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Mark Potter