Google looks to Adwords like auctions to fill your Android launchers with default apps and other bloatware

You know those default/pre-installed apps that vendors and carriers put on your new Android phone, tablet or PC? Some of them are to promote their own services, others – push some third-party apps. And when outside software makers are involved – that usually means some money changed hands to get that app in your face.

Well, Google wants in on the default pre-loads racket too. It is looking to Adwords like auction process as the means to do it, and already filed a patent application for auction based app placements.

The basic idea is to integrate a bidding system similar to Adwords directly into Android. Only instead of keywords, app developers and service providers will bid for a default or alternative placement on an app launcher home screen. Google will offer this system to Android OEMs, which, just like webmasters with Adsense ads today, will create placements to bid for.

Spotify wants a default spot on a home screen and in app menu as a music streaming app? Let them go at it against Pandora, Rdio and Songza. Video streaming? Hulu, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, Netflix and Amazon would bid the price up to an impressive heights. Want to promote your latest game? There will be 2 or 3 spots open to everyone. Business, fitness, education, news apps and utilities? You are welcome. Just throw enough money at it, and your are in.

Samsung, HTC, Sony, Huawei and others can create auctions for an icon on home screen, a place in the category folder, or a place in the app tray. App/service vendors may offer a flat fee for placement per phone. For other apps – price per action approach can be used, with payments per download, install or some other metric. The place can be exclusive and go to the highest bidder, or there may be a drop down list with #2-5 apps present too. The apps may be ranked by the highest bid, or there may be an Adwords like quality score, which makes the amount of money you are willing to pay only one criteria among many.

And in the middle of it all will be Google, administering auctions, ranking apps, collecting and disbursing money and taking their 20 or 30 % cut for the service.

My first impression when I read about this thing was – Oh no! Even more bloatware for my Droids!

But when you think about it – the bloatware is already there. Put on the phones by both – Android OEMs and carriers. Based on device provider whims, and/or app maker access to the right managers. More transparent auction process, and expanded access for app promotion even for smaller software outfits may actually be a good thing.

As long as I can remove any such placed app whenever I want, and replace it with the one I prefer.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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