DuckDuckGo Urges DOJ to Encourage Mobile Search Competition

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Privacy-based search engine DuckDuckGo released a study on Monday which found that allowing smartphone users to choose their default search engine could result in Google losing 20 percent of its search market.

DuckDuckGo, a competitor to Google search, recently met with the Justice Department and urged the agency to create a preference menu on Android so users could easily switch to different search providers.

This report emerges as the DOJ and states continue to prepare antitrust cases against Google.

Google controls 95 percent of the American search market, 98 percent of the British search market, and 98 percent of the Australian search market.

The DuckDuckGo proposal to have users have a preference menu, in which they could choose their default search engine, found that this proposal could reduce Google’s dominance on the online search market by 20 percent in the U.S., 22 percent in the U.K., and 16 percent in Australia.

DuckDuckGo conducted this study by sampling 12,000 mobile users across these three countries.

“And, this could just be the start,” DuckDuckGo wrote in a release on Monday. “Because people would finally be able to easily change their search defaults, and as people become familiar with search engine alternatives, we expect even greater market share changes as time goes on.”

Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO of DuckDuckGo, said in a statement on Monday that their proposal serves a simple solution to encourage more search engine competition when compared to potentially more onerous antitrust solutions.

“We think the data speaks for itself,” Weinberg added, “It’s the missing piece.”

Our focus is firmly on providing free services that help people every day, lower costs for small businesses, and enable increased choice and competition,” a Google spokesperson told Axios.

Other countries have opted for DuckDuckGo’s proposal and found that offering a “choice screen” or “preference menu” encourages search engine competition.

Matt Stoller, a research director at the American Economic Liberties Project, wrote that the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) sued and then settled with Google in 2017, in which Google agreed to present a “choice screen” to all Android phone users letting their users pick their default search engine.

“Immediately upon implementing the choice screen, Yandex recaptured a chunk of market share from Google. And its market share then stabilized,” Stoller wrote.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3

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