Google has said it before, but now it has said it again: “We built Google for users, not websites.”
Think you got a raw deal from a recent algorithm change? Sorry, they built Google for users, not websites.
Think Google is hurting third-party websites by increasingly showing users “answers” on the search results page? Sorry, they build Google for users, not websites.
This time, that’s the response Eric Schmidt is giving the world after Europe’s biggest publishers got together to run a newspaper ad saying Google is too dominant and that it favors its own products (like Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Shopping) in search results.
Schmidt says Google has been fortunate to be successful in Europe, but that it’s not the “gateway to the Internet as the publishers suggest.”
“To get news, you’ll probably go direct to your favorite news site. It’s why newspapers like Bild, Le Monde and the Financial Times get most of their online traffic directly (less than 15% comes from Google). Or you might follow what other people are reading on Twitter,” Schmidt says. “To book a flight or buy a camera for your next holiday, you’re as likely go to a site like Expedia or Amazon as you are Google. If you’re after reviews for restaurants or local services, chances are you’ll check out Yelp or TripAdvisor. And if you are on a mobile phone — which most people increasingly are — you’ll go straight to a dedicated app to check the sports scores, share your photos or look for recommendations. The most downloaded app in Europe is not Google, it is Facebook Messenger.”
“Nor is it true to say that we are promoting our own products at the expense of the competition. We show the results at the top that answer the user’s queries directly (after all we built Google for users, not websites),” he adds.
He goes on to say that he thinks it’s OK to rank weather sites lower and give them less traffic when Google shows local weather at the top of the page because it’s “good for users.” He says it’s the same if you want to buy something, and that if you want directions somewhere, a Google Maps result is a “great result for users.”
Schmidt points out that European Commissioner Almunia has said that imposing “strict equal treatment” could lead to European users being deprived of “search innovations”.
Earlier this year, it was looking like the big European antitrust probe into Google search would be wrapping up soon, but this summer, we learned that regulators were preparing to step up their investigation.
You can read Schmidt’s full blog post here.
Image via YouTube