Yandex, the Russian search engine, has witnessed a surge in popularity among Android users in the European Union (EU) due to the bloc’s anti-trust regulations against major tech companies, notably Google. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Yandex has risen to become one of the top five search engines used in several EU member states, including Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Denmark.
The growth of Yandex in the EU can be attributed to the choice screen feature offered by Google to EU Android users. This feature allows mobile users to select an alternative search engine to Google. Yandex is among the search engines available in the choice screen. The creation of this feature was a response to the increasing criticism by Brussels regarding Google’s alleged monopolistic practices. In 2019, the EU regulators fined Google €4.34 billion ($4.6 billion) and demanded that it cease pushing out competitors from the search engine market. Google has been appealing this decision in EU courts since then.
The recent rise in Yandex’s popularity can also be linked to the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into effect in late August. The DSA provides stricter regulations for online platforms and search engines with over 45 million users, including giants like Meta, Apple, and Google. These tech companies now face more stringent rules regarding content moderation, user privacy, and transparency.
Under the DSA, internet giants must focus on preventing the spread of harmful content, limit certain user-targeting practices, and share internal data with regulators. Violations of the DSA can result in fines of up to 6% of the company’s global turnover, and repeated offenses may lead to a ban from operating within the EU.
According to data from StatCounter, Yandex’s mobile search engine market share in Europe experienced a significant increase following the implementation of the DSA. It rose from 1.6% in August to nearly 2.8% in September. However, Google remains dominant in the European market with a share of 95.3%.
This rise in Yandex’s popularity and market share highlights the impact of the EU’s anti-trust regulations and the implementation of the DSA. These measures have provided alternatives for EU users and compelled tech giants like Google to face stricter regulations in order to ensure fair competition and protect user interests.
The landscape of search engines in the EU is diversifying, and Yandex’s growth is a testament to the effectiveness of these regulatory measures. As EU regulators continue to advocate for a fair and competitive digital market, it remains to be seen how this trend will shape the future of search engine dominance in the region.