back to article Google takes a page from Microsoft of old and revives browser ballot on Android

Google has offered to remind Android users in Europe that Chrome isn't the only game in town – similar to the "Web Browser Ballot" measure imposed on Microsoft a decade ago as part of a competition remedy. In a blog post, senior SVP of global affairs Kent Walker wrote that Google will start doing more "to ensure that Android …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows-N

    "Google's proposed solution involves splitting the Google app bundle into two parts, one free, and the other commanding a licence fee reportedly up to $40 per device"

    Which device do you think users will pick, the one that's $40 more? I don't think so. The expensive offering will be yet another Windows-N style offering. it's there, but nobody wants it.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Windows-N

      The user's don't choose (directly) the phone maker pays for the licence.

      For them it's great, buy a Samsung / Motorola / etc high end phone and get all app stores, buy one of the better cheaper Xiaomi, Huawei, etc ones and you don't get all your lovely apps.

      1. overunder

        Re: Windows-N

        Sure, but you forgot this bit...

        "Those who chose Search may receive a discount."

        So the vast, vast majority of the Google search users will still not understand that there is other search engines as the choice has been and will remain chosen for them. Since search is all Google really needs to spy, mission accomplished.

        Google is without contestation the new Microsoft. But I guess if it wasn't for Android, the world would still think Windows is the only OS, that counts for something...right? (No)

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Windows-N

          Name a mobile OS that isn't a glorified data slurping program. Android does it, Apple does it, MS does it.

          It's a question of who gets your data, rather than whether anyone does.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Windows-N

      So you'd rather choose the phone with the Baidu App Store?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. paulll Bronze badge

    ""Google's proposed solution involves splitting the Google app bundle into two parts, one free, and the other commanding a licence fee reportedly up to $40 per device"

    Which device do you think users will pick, the one that's $40 more? I don't think so. The expensive offering will be yet another Windows-N style offering. it's there, but nobody wants it."

    I got a little rush when I read it. What? That could be a thing? Seems a bit steep for what's really quite a crap OS that's substantially derived from free software but Apple's not an option so it's the only game in town. And I don't like being spied on. So... whatever, just take my money. Double it. I'll throw in a tip.

  3. imanidiot Silver badge

    Google has seen the signs.

    Google/Alphabet has reached the point where it's monopoly and market control are TOO obvious for the politicians to ignore and their lobbying power can no longer sway them to stay schtum. So they throw a few limp balls to hope it pacifies sentiment for a little while longer. Let's see how long it takes for the whole thing starts to crumble.

    1. overunder

      Honestly, I don't think it will, the problem is deeper than IT. Well, Google will fall at some point (as everything does), but won't they just be replaced by another pit boss? At least history and money says they will.

  4. Quatroux
    Coat

    My browser is so good I need my competitor to offer it for me

    off to install Lynx on my Moto G.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: My browser is so good I need my competitor to offer it for me

      Supporting ms? Doesn't normally go down well on these pages.....

    2. JLV Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: My browser is so good I need my competitor to offer it for me

      I never thought I'd do it, but I've actually found good uses for Lynx ;-)

      I build VMs that serve up a Django app via nginx. Between that and the https, plenty of scope for screwups so it's nice to see who is dropping the ball. And it's also nice to be able to consult the webapp and Monit's status directly within the SSH session.

      Presto, here comes Lynx and it does all of that. Without CSS or JS, to boot. Basically, you can look at anything that serves up HTML with it, even within a bash screen ;-)

      Yes, yes, my coat. All the greybeards are chasing me off their lawns.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <marquee>IE6 for me please</marquee>

    <blink>first!</blink>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: <marquee>IE6 for me please</marquee>

      I suspect that post was meant in jest, but I do genuinely still have implement software which will run in IE6 because the customer refuses to move on.

      Oh, and it's IE6 with zero plug-ins.

      I suspect I may have lost up to 2% of my bodyweight in tears alone.

      1. Halfmad

        Re: <marquee>IE6 for me please</marquee>

        I thought those of us in healthcare were slow but IE6?! That's insane.

        Just checked wikipedia.. IE6 still accounts for 0.17% of browser usage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_6

      2. livin' thing
        Thumb Up

        Re: <marquee>IE6 for me please</marquee>

        You'll be fine if you don't connect to the Information Super-highway.

  6. iron Silver badge

    I already have a real choiec Margrethe

    Thanks but I already have a real choice and I made it years ago.

    As an existing Android user I don't need a ballot box asking me if i want to install a browser other than Firefox.

    These things are fine for new users but just annoy existing users, especially those of us who don't use the offending monopoly product in the first place.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I already have a real choiec Margrethe

      How about those who not only don't use the "monopoly product" but don't want it installed on their devices?

    2. DCdave
      Alert

      Re: I already have a real choiec Margrethe

      Even if you disable/uninstall/don't install Chrome and only ever use Firefox as your browser, it's likely that you will hit one of the ever-increasing number of apps that use Android System Webview to do web stuff, and this is basically Chrome, or part of it. Everyone can decide for themselves where that ends up, but Google have certainly made it quite hard to avoid Chrome.

  7. Tony W

    Dog in the manger

    Google's attitude to their Search app is obvious from Andoid 9 One. The search bar demands five icon spaces on every home screen even if the app is disabled so it is completely inert. Even more annoying than apps that I never use but can't uninstall.

    But I have now got used to the dead space and treat it as a reminder of who is in charge of "my" phone.

    1. Thunderpants

      Re: Dog in the manger

      Install Nova Launcher and kiss the search bar goodbye :-)

      I recommend Nova simply because it has allowed me to provide a consistent looking UI on the wife's phone over a few Android revisions now where the standard UI has changed over time. Without that consistency, I think she'd be demanding an iPhone.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We didn't really need a browser ballot for Windows as we all knew how shit IE was and route one for malware to the OS so were happy to keep it locked in a box and use something sensible.

    1. A.P. Veening

      IE (and Edge)

      I've been known to occasionally use IE (or Edge)

      .

      .

      .

      .

      to download a decent browser, usually when installing a Windows computer.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The problem was that it was also built into the OS as part of the file manager, which is is why Microsoft said they couldn't make it optional.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Right. That was the entire point to melding the browser into the file manager as they did with Windows 98. There certainly was no security or user experience reason to do it! It was a bad idea from every angle except Microsoft's, and they got away with it. Perjury, I mean.

        MS claimed that they couldn't remove IE from the OS, even though they were the ones who put it in there in the first place, but some guy comes along and writes Mozilla's Revenge that effectively uninstalled IE from Windows 98 (it replaced the Windows Explorer with the one from 95 OSR 2, which the user had to supply for copyright reasons) and left a perfectly usable system, without having any of Microsoft's source code or other inside info to guide him. Amazing how he could do what the very creator of the OS itself couldn't!

        1. paulll Bronze badge

          "Right. That was the entire point to melding the browser into the file manager as they did with Windows 98. There certainly was no security or user experience reason to do it!"

          It made it (appear to) load faster. The main competition, Communicator/Navigator took *forever* to start up. IE was always faster because everything was faster; But once all the code was in the OS, it got relatively even faster still and any hit in OS boot time was something the user couldn't avoid.

          I'm sure lots of people stuck with IE because it was the default; But lots more switched from Netscape to IE because they were sick of waiting for the damned thing to load.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            But once all the code was in the OS, it got relatively even faster still

            And failed even more catastophically when something went wrong. Building user-land stuff into the OS has never been a sensible choice..

  9. IGnatius T Foobar !

    mostly Goolag-free

    If it weren't for YouTube I wouldn't even bother signing in to my Goolag account. I search with DuckDuckGo, I browse with Firefox, and there's no way in hell I'd run my private email through Goolag's system.

    1. ProbablyUnknown

      Re: mostly Goolag-free

      Agreed. Sure wish all the used car dealers that have found a second lease on life with web marketing and design would stop peddling every Google spyware service too. You know, the 10MB page, with 1minute load times and 400 requests.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: mostly Goolag-free

      I have a few Google accounts that I use for things like signing into Disqus, but I never use them for email or any other Google related stuff. I sign in, post the comment, then delete all my cookies to sign out once again, and every so often I get a new IP address from my ISP's large pool. I could set my router to reboot periodically (giving me a new IP each time), but with my ad and script blocking, I don't really find it worth the trouble at the moment. I release and renew the IP address manually sometimes when I'm not busy, a few times a week.

      I use YouTube from time to time, but I'm never signed in when I do. It warms my heart when Google recommends completely off-base and irrelevant videos to me. I can't say what ads it is trying to show, as I don't see any of them. It means I can't like or subscribe to anything, but that's ok, as I've never done that anywhere else either. I use browser bookmarks and check manually if I'm concerned enough about what other videos may be posted on a given channel, which I seldom am.

      As for search, I use Startpage.com for that.

      When it comes to my phone, it's not "smart" anyway. I don't like Apple or Google, so it's good that I don't like smartphones either, I guess.

  10. goswh

    It's not just about browser choice

    Its about the underlying OS and is capabilities to allow tight integration in the same way that Google's own apps work

    Great that a browser option exists, but it's just lip service if this isn't allowed.

  11. Korev Silver badge
    Gimp

    Apple too?

    By default IOS users "go on Safari", shouldn't Apple be made to do the same thing?

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Apple too?

      Do apple run a search monopoly? Do they have a monopoly on something else that they're using Safari to unfairly leverage that control?

      1. ProbablyUnknown

        Re: Apple too?

        The devices we carry in our pockets should cloud, our better judgement. This debate shouldn't be limited to a browser, search engine and Apple is about as far from perfect as anyone else.

      2. slartybartfast

        Re: Apple too?

        Apple force all third party browsers to use their own rendering engine. Firstly, this can make them slower than Safari and they can't use external content blockers. Yep, I'd call that an unfair monopoly. Not sure how they're allowed to get away with it.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Apple too?

          They get away with it by only having 20% of the smartphone market. It's not a monopoly if 80% of people use something else, even if their practices within that 20% are monopolistic.

  12. J.G.Harston Silver badge
    Joke

    My car comes with a radio, why should I have to decide what sort of radio it has, I don't know anything about radios, the manufacturer should just bloody put a damn radio in the damn car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blaupunkt

      - as in You let the mayor go, we'll even throw in a Blaupunkt

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google say and Google do

    If the browser choice gets applied, will the choice be acknowledge across the device? Or if you've chosen one browser but go to to search from Google.co[m/uk etc] will you still be pestered with a "would you rather use Chrome? Click here" popup.

    That's what happens on my desktop.

  14. gnarlymarley

    price attached to seach?

    Judging by the comments it appears folks are not concerned with a "dollar amount" that google attached to the search. Apparently, google only makes $40 off me if I use their search?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019