Starting this month, Android users in Russia will begin to see a screen in the Chrome mobile browser that gives them the chance to select their preferred search engine.
When the Chrome app launches, the screen will prompt users who have the most recent version of Chrome Mobile, v.60, to select their default search engine such as Google, Mail.ru or Yandex. Future updates of the app, as well as new devices, will also have a choice screen.
Whether or not this sets a precedent in other countries such as the United States remains unknown, but as consumers become more dependent on their mobile devices for finding information, Yandex executives are excited that Russian users now see a screen that gives them a choice.
Google is Yandex's biggest rival in Russia. The move to add a screen that allows users to choose their search engine is part of a settlement that fined Google $7.8 million and prevented Google from forcing phone manufacturers such as Samsung to only pre-install the Google search engine on devices running Android OS.
The antitrust battle between Google and the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) led by Russian search rival Yandex came to a close in April. Google reached an out-of-court deal.
In late July, Yandex reported that its share of the Russian search market -- including mobile -- fell slightly to 54.3% in second-quarter 2017 compared with 54.7% in the previous quarter. The data came from Yandex.Radar, a search traffic and browser use analytics tool based on Yandex.Metrica data.
The company reported that in the second quarter of 2017, search queries in Russia rose 5% compared with Q2 2016. Paid clicks on Yandex's and its partners' websites, in aggregate, rose 10% compared with 2016, average cost per click grew 9%, respectively. The number of Yandex.Taxi rides grew 425% year-on-year compared with second-quarter 2016.