Google Accused of Favoring Google Maps on Android Auto, Gets Hefty Fine

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The Italian Competition Authority has issued a $123 million fine for Google. The search giant has allegedly favored Google Maps on Android Auto and blocked competing third-party applications from being offered in the car.
More specifically, the country’s competition watchdog says Google “did not allow Enel X Italia” to add Android Auto support for its JuicePass application, as the company “consequently favored its own Google Maps app.

JuicePass is an application that allows EV drivers to see the location of nearby charging stations and reserve a place to recharge their cars. While Google Maps does not feature such capabilities, the Italian authorities claim a future update could add such capabilities, suggesting this may be why the search company decided to block JuicePass from making its way to Android Auto.

Google has consequently favored its own Google Maps app, which runs on Android Auto and enables functional services for electric vehicle charging, currently limited to finding and getting directions to reach charging points, but which in the future could include other functionalities such as reservation and payment,” it says.

The competition body says Enel X Italia has been insisting on bringing its app to Android Auto for over two years. It added that Google’s approach not only could “permanently jeopardize” the company’s chances of building a user base on the platform but might also “influence the development of electric mobility in a crucial phase of its launch.

Google hasn’t responded to the fine, but ironically, the company has recently unlocked Android Auto for more third-party app categories, including tools aimed at EVs. In fact, several apps providing capabilities similar to JuicePass have already landed on Android Auto, so it’s now probably just a matter of time until Enel X Italia releases a similar update as well.

Oddly enough, the judge has officially requested Google to allow third-party EV tools on Android Auto, even though, as we said, such a thing is already possible starting earlier this year.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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