Google’s Hidden Page Hints at Strategy to Appease Global Regulators

What you should know

  • A hidden page in the Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 release suggests that Google may be planning to allow Android users to choose their own default search engine. This comes in response to accusations of anticompetitive behavior from regulatory agencies worldwide.
  • The hidden page was discovered within the Pixel Launcher app and contains a setting called “Search engine”, which allows users to select the app they want to use for web searches.
  • If this feature is made available to all Android phones in a future OS update, it could demonstrate to regulators that Google is opening up Android to other search options.
  • Data security attorney Lance Adams found flags on Chrome for Android that seem related to the hidden Search engine page, suggesting that Google may be working on related features.

Full Story

There’s an intriguing find in the latest Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 release. A hidden page in the release gives us a glimpse into how Google might respond to global regulatory bodies. These agencies have accused Google of anti-competitive behavior.

Some of these agencies are demanding more freedom for Android users. They want users to choose their default search engine. Nail Sadykov, editor of the Google News Telegram Channel, discovered this hidden page. His find suggests how Google might meet this demand.

The Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 update came with the Pixel Launcher app. Hidden within the app’s Search settings page is an option called “Search engine”. The description of this setting reads, “Select the app you’ll use to search the web. This will affect search and content on your home screen.”

As one might guess, Google is the default web search on a Pixel. But this hidden page implies that Google may let other search engines, like Bing or DuckDuckGo, handle searches. The Pixel Launcher could soon let you pick your default web ‘Search engine’.

The Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3 version has a hidden search settings item named “Search Engine”. This feature lets you choose your web search app. If this page becomes available to all Android phones on a future version of the operating system, it might be enough to show regulators throughout the world that Google is opening up Android to other Search options.

But, that’s just one thing. Google still has other issues to address. For instance, Google’s cut of in-app payments in the Play Store.

On a related note, Lance Adams, a data security attorney, tweeted about some Chrome flags. These seem related to the hidden Search engine page. For example, the #enable-search-engine-choice flag enables the Search engine choice screen and related features.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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