It’s getting harder and harder for Google to pretend it’s not the anti-competitive bully we all know that. Concrete example: within the framework of the company battle in progress to fend off the biggest antitrust fine ever imposed by the European Union, the company argued in an EU court on Tuesday that it was … term on the Bing search engine. Yes really.
“We have submitted evidence showing that by far the most common search query on Bing is Google,” Google lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the EU General Court in Luxembourg. According to Bloomberg, who first reported Google’s arguments, Lamadrid went on to note that “people use Google because they want to, not because they have to.”
If this argument sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s almost identical to talking points Google CEO Sundar Pichai used in 2018, when European regulators slap the tech giant with a fine of 5 billion dollars (4.3 billion euros), the largest ever issued by the European Union. The EU complaint alleged that Google had abused its dominant position in the Android market in multiple ways, including bundling its flagship search engine as part of its mobile phone operating system.
Pichai, meanwhile, saw it a little differently. In a blog post titled “Android created more choice, not less,” he argued – just as Lamadrid would argue three years later – that Android users could easily switch to another search engine if they preferred , say, Bing or Brave to the Google search engine that came preloaded on their phone.
The fact that Google swallows more than 90% of search engine traffic around the world, Pichai continues, it’s only because its users selected Google on these competitors.
Ultimately, however, the reason people often choose Google is because… Google invested a ton of resources into dominating search early in the Internet. By 2000, the company had already indexed more sites than any other search engine at the time.
In 2013, for example, the company indexed an estimate 30 trillion web pages as part of its extensive network. Three years later, that number rose to 130,000 billion pages total. And those numbers have continued to skyrocket since then. As Gigablast creator Matt Wells told the New York Times at the end of last year: “If people are on a search engine with a smaller index, they won’t always get the results they want. And then they go to Google and stay with Google. And finally, when Google is the default search engine on Android and Apple operating systems, staying on the Google Web just got easier.
Competitor acquisitions and overt tsunamis are an integral part of Google over the past two decades and smaller search engines like Bing have struggle to compete. The situation is so absurd that we are sitting here treating a Microsoft search engine as some sort of rambling outsider.