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EU Prepares to hit Google with Record Fine in Android Monopoly Case

As well as the fine, Google is set to be ordered to break its agreements with phone manufacturers

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Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms, the company said in a statement.

Google will be hit with a record European Union (EU) fine for using its Android smartphone system to fortify its search empire.

The fine — likely to be handed down on Tuesday or Wednesday — is expected to eclipse the 2.1 bn pound monopoly abuse penalty Google paid last year over its internet shopping business, and escalates the war between Silicon Valley and Brussels, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

The European Commission’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager has been investigating Google for three years over complaints the company illegally forces smartphone manufacturers to install its apps.

It gives its Android software to phone manufacturers for free, but binds them to “exclusivity agreements” that force them to install Google’s web browser and search engine if they use the Google Play app store, the report said.

The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet's annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound)
The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet’s annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound). Pixabay

Opponents claim that this constitutes abuse of Android’s 74 per cent share of the European smartphone market and harms rival search engines and browsers.

Meanwhile, Google insists the agreements allow Android to remain free to manufacturers and help them compete against Apple.

The commission has the power to fine Google up to 10 per cent of its parent company Alphabet’s annual turnover, or 9.5 bn euro (8.4 bn pound).

Also Read: Google Rolls Out ‘Morse Code’ Support on Gboard for iOS

Although it is not expected to use the full extent of its powers, the fine is likely to be higher than the 2.4 bn euros Google was ordered to pay in June last year over claims it stuffed search results with its own shopping adverts, squeezing out price comparison services.

As well as the fine, Google is set to be ordered to break its agreements with phone manufacturers. This could mean more Android phones being sold without Google software installed, potentially boosting rival search engines and web browsers such as Microsoft’s Bing or Firefox. (IANS)

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Google To Test Updating Pre-loaded Apps Without Signing Into Account

Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account. 

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Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account. Pixabay

Google is planning to roll-out a functionality that would auto-update pre-loaded apps via Google Play even when users are not signed into their Google accounts.

With this feature, the search engine giant aims to provide a more consistent app experience for users in the coming months, Android Police reported on Friday.

Previously, if users were not signed into their Google accounts, pre-installed apps on their devices, including the Play Store, were cut off from updates.

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Previously, if users were not signed into their Google accounts, pre-installed apps on their devices, including the Play Store, were cut off from updates. Pixabay

“In the coming months, Google Play will begin testing a new feature that will automatically allow Google Play to update pre-loaded apps and with users having an option to turn off this feature at any time if they wish. This should also help developers reduce overhead costs required to support obsolete app versions,” the report quoted Google as saying in a letter to the developers.

Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account.
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The feature would only apply to devices shipped with Android Lollipop or newer OS versions, the report added.

It is yet not clear by when would the feature be officially released for all Android users. (IANS)