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Google’s Secret Page Reveals its Strategy to Silence Global Regulators

Google’s Strategy to Tackle Anticompetitive Accusations Around the World Revealed

A hidden page found in the recently released Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 release provides us with some idea of how Google will tackle regulatory agencies worldwide that have accused the company of anticompetitive behavior. Some of these agencies want Google to allow Android users to have the freedom to select their own default search engine and the hidden page explains how Google might do this.

Included with the Pixel Launcher app that came with the Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 update is a hidden option on the Search settings page called Search engine. The description of this setting says, “Select the app you’ll use to search the web. This will affect search and content on your home screen.” As you might expect, using the field above the apps list on a Pixel will rely on Google for web searches by default. The presence of this page indicates that Google could allow other search engines such as Bing, or DuckDuckGo, to handle such tasks.

If this page becomes available to all Android phones on a future version of the operating system, it might be enough to show regulators throughout the world that Google is opening up Android to other Search options. But this is just one item and Google will still have to address others including Google’s cut of in-app payments in the Play Store.

Meanwhile, data security attorney Lance Adams posted a tweet showing some flags on Chrome for Android that seem related to the aforementioned hidden Search engine page. For example, the #enable-search-engine-choice flag enables the Search engine choice screen and related features.

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