The EU’s anti-trust regulations against global tech majors – particularly Google – have contributed to the growth in popularity of Russian search engine Yandex across the bloc, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
According to data from the website of the Android operating system, Yandex has recently risen to become one of the top five search engines used in Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Denmark, as well as several other member states.
Yandex is among the search engines offered to EU Android users in the choice screen, which allows mobile users to choose an alternative to Google. The feature was developed by Google in 2019 in response to Brussels’ increasing criticism of the company’s anti-competitive practices. EU regulators fined the US tech giant €4.34 billion ($4.6 billion) and demanded it stop pushing out rivals from the search engine market. Google has been appealing the decision in EU courts ever since.
Analysts link the most recent rise in Yandex’s popularity with the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into effect in late August and covers online platforms and search engines with more than 45 million users. Under the new regulation, internet giants such as Meta, Apple, and Google face stricter rules on content moderation, user privacy, and transparency.
They have to focus more on preventing the spread of harmful content, limit certain user-targeting practices, and share some internal data with regulators. Companies found in breach of the DSA face fines of up to 6% of their global turnover, and may be banned from operating in the bloc in the case of repeat offences.
According to data from StatCounter, the market share of Yandex’s mobile search engine in Europe surged following the introduction of the DSA, rising from 1.6% in August to nearly 2.8% in September. Google’s share, however, is 95.3%.
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