Italian authorities fine Google $120 million for blocking a charging app in Android Auto

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The Italian Competitors Authority (ICA) handed Google an roughly $120 million (€100 million) tremendous at the moment for not letting a third-party charging app on Android Auto in 2019 (via 9to5Google). The case began with a probe into the search big’s automotive software program enterprise, which until October 2020 had limitations round what sorts of apps have been allowed to be developed and launched to be used whereas driving.

Enel Group, an Italian power firm, originally complained in 2019 that Google wouldn’t enable its Enel X Recharge app on Android Auto. The app can assist discover charging places for electrical vehicles, a characteristic Google first added to Google Maps in 2018. At the moment’s ICA tremendous is concentrated on Enel X JuicePass, which is the renamed version of the identical app with the identical EV options. Together with the tremendous, the ICA is ordering Google to open up Android Auto to extra builders (one thing the corporate has already performed) and let Enel Group onto the platform:

The Authority has due to this fact ordered Google to make out there to Enel X Italia, in addition to to different app builders, instruments for the programming of apps which can be interoperable with Android Auto and can monitor the efficient and proper implementation of the imposed obligations by means of an impartial skilled to whom Google should present all cooperation and knowledge requested.

Earlier than altering what apps it permits, Google required Android Auto apps to incorporate some sort of messaging or media playback choice, and restricted navigation to Waze and Google Maps. Because the firm modified course, related charging apps to JuicePass, like ChargePoint, have launched on the platform, seemingly with none points. Because the ICA started its investigation earlier than Google eased up its restrictions, there’s a risk Enel’s complaints helped inspire the change within the first place.

For its half, Google says it disagrees with the ICA’s choice and supplied this assertion in response:

The primary precedence for Android Auto is to make sure apps can be utilized safely whereas driving. That’s why we now have strict tips on the varieties of apps that are presently supported and these are based mostly on driver-distraction exams and regulatory and trade requirements. 1000’s of functions are already appropriate with Android Auto, and our aim is to permit much more builders to make their apps out there over time.

The corporate additionally says that Enel is ready to combine its app into Android Auto utilizing one of many navigation or booking templates it already gives.

As Android Auto becomes more common and Google develops direct relationships with European automakers like Volvo for Android Automotive, the priority that the corporate wields an excessive amount of management over its platform isn’t ridiculous.

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