DuckDuckGo Lands for European Search Users

January 14, 2020

I read “DuckDuckGo Beats Microsoft Bing In Google’s New Android Search Engine Ballot.” There have been numerous reports about this decision.

Digital Information World is a representative write up in today’s world of Google EU analysis. DarkCyber noted:

The introduction of this “choice screen” seems to be a clear response to the antitrust ruling from the European Union during last March and how Google was fined $5 billion by EU regulators. According to them, Google was playing illegally in tying up the search engine to its browser for mobile OS.

Okay. But how does a search engine get listed? We learned:

you can expect Google to not show search engines which are popular but the ones whose providers are willing to pay well.

The write up includes a run down of what search options will be displayed in each EU country. The ones we spotted are:

  • DuckDuckGo
  • GMX
  • Info.com
  • Privacy Wall
  • Qwant
  • Yandex.

Bing is a no show as are Giburu, iSeek, Mojeek, Yippy, and others. It is worth noting that some of these outfits are metasearch engines. This means that the systems send queries to Bing, Google, and other services and aggregate the results. Dogpile and Vivisimo were metasearch engines. DuckDuckGo and Ixquick (StartPage) are metasearch engines`.  The reason metasearch is available boils down to cost. It is very expensive to index the public Web.

The DarkCyber team formulated a few hypotheses about the auction, the limitations on default search engines, and the dominance of Google search in Europe; for example, Google accounts for more than 95 percent of the search traffic in Denmark. The same situation exists in Germany and other EU countries.

Will these choices make any difference? Sure, for small outfits like DuckDuckGo any increase in traffic is good news. But will the choices alter Google’s lock on search queries from Europe?

Not a chance.

Does anyone in the EU government know? Probably not. Do these people care? Not to much.

Remember one of my Laws of Information: Online generates natural monopolies. Here’s another Law: User behavior is almost impossible to change once mental memory locks in.

So Google gets paid and keeps on trucking.

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2020

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