Like most other popular Android launchers, the Pixel Launcher features a universal search function that can dig through your phone’s settings, apps, contacts, and online for results, all in one convenient place. The recently-launched Android 14 QPR 2 Beta 3 has a new version of said launcher and a pretty interesting hidden settings menu called “Search Engine”. Its description is pretty clear and straightforward – “Select the app you’ll use to search the web. This will affect search and content on your home screen.”
This is all conjecture at this point, but it seems like Pixel devices might soon be able to swap their system-level search engine from Google to something else like Bing or DuckDuckGo. The information surfaced on Twitter from @Nail_Sadykov, who is a known tipster in the space, and the thread also features some interesting similar discoveries related to the Chrome browser. Apparently, users have found similar “Search engine choice” flags in the browser and accompanying text that suggests setting said flags would affect the “first run” experience, offering the user a choice of search engine.
Of course, this opens the door to all sorts of possible speculations, but we would like to remind you that Google is currently involved in a major antitrust case and sued by the US Justice Department and attorneys general of eight states. The case is alleging Google, which has a 90% to 95% monopoly on the search engine market of running a monopoly by locking down almost every avenue through which consumers might find a different search engine. You can see how a case could be made for that, given that the search giant is still paying $10bn a year to Apple to keep Google the default in iOS.
We feel like this new move on Google’s end might be related to the mounting legal pressure. Also, we have to wonder if this is the last avenue of attack for Google’s alleged “monopoly,” considering the ongoing battle for the Play Store.
Source 1 | Source 2 | Via
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