Google Search Rivals Call on EU to Do Something

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google with 12 Comments

In an open letter, four of Google’s search rivals call on the EU to actually address the search giant’s dominance in a meaningful way.

“The Digital Markets Act [DMA] urgently needs to be adapted to prevent gatekeepers from suppressing search engine competition,” an open letter from DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Lilo, and Ecosia reads. “Specifically, the DMA should enshrine in law a requirement for a search engine preference menu that would effectively ban Google from acquiring default search access points of the operating systems and the browsers of gatekeepers.”

The search rivals also demand that the DMA would allow users to switch to new search engines at any time with one click. These changes, they say, would “finally lead to significant implications for competition in the search engine market and ensure there is real consumer choice online.”

It’s pretty clear that Google’s rivals are—understandably—tired of the glacial pace of the European Union and its regulatory agencies, which have opened multiple investigations into Google (and Apple) over several years, but with little to show for it. For example, the DMA referenced in the letter was proposed over a year ago with the goal of reining in so-called Internet gatekeepers like Google, but it’s been stuck in negotiations ever since.

And it does nothing to break up Google’s dominance in search: Google currently owns about 93 percent of the search market in that region.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Google Search Rivals Call on EU to Do Something”

  1. bschnatt

    No one, absolutely no one, is being blocked from finding out about other search engines, or switching to one (although I can't speak to the situation in oppressive nations). This is just sour grapes. Want more people to use your search engine? Build a better search engine!

    • yoshi

      I think that's easy to say from our point of view, meaning anyone that visits this site regularly. But people like my mom will use whatever is in front of them. Which is exactly why Google pays Apple billions of dollars each year to be the default.

      • bschnatt

        Right, but she doesn't care to find an alternative. My point is that no one is being blocked from finding one if they want one (unless you're in China or whatever)..

  2. proftheory

    What they would prefer is that Google can't be selected as the default search engine period.

  3. SvenJ

    Simple solution. Don't load Chrome.

  4. red.radar

    To get people to switch you have to build a better product to give them a reason to learn or care to switch. Simply having a me-too product is not enough.

    That being said... There are efforts that can be done to level the playing field. You could ban exclusivity agreements and give people the opportunity to choose.

    Google while great at somethings their search result quality has declined over the years and as such I think there is room for improvement. The Ad links are terrible.

  5. Saarek

    I've tried the competition and I really really wanted them to be good enough for me to make the switch, primarily due to privacy concerns.

    Unfortunately they all suck in comparison to Google Search, at least for me.

    • wright_is

      I switched to DuckDuckGo nearly 3 years ago now. I think I've had to call up Google less than half a dozen times since. I guess it depends on what you are searching for, for me, a majority of what I search for comes up on the first page, generally towards the top.

      It has only been with very technical and very new IT problems that I've had to resort to Google.

      • gelfer

        Same here. The very, very few times I fire up my 'spyware browser' and use google search, I end up with the same (absense of) information that DDG delivered. It's mostly just for confirmation that the thing I'm looking for, is just not documented (yet).

  6. lightbody

    I have changed my search engines to a mixture of Bing and DuckDuckGo - I still use Google, but its now a deliberate choice rather than my default. For some searches, there's no question that Google still gives the best results though...

  7. omen_20

    I've used Ecosia as my default for 5+ years. It works just fine, but I will switch to Google if what I need is a widget, or fact card. We also have Nest speakers and Hub, but I don't mind Google knowing I ask about business times or weather.

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