Google's Biggest Rival? Not A Search Engine

Google executive Eric Schmidt has named the company's rival but it's not what you might expect — he didn't point the finger at other search engines.

Google's Biggest Rival? Not A Search Engine
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

When you think of Google's rivals, the names of other search engines might pop up: Bing, Yahoo... but what about Amazon? 

That's who Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has picked out as the tech giant's biggest competitor on the Internet. (Video via Stanford University)

In a speech Monday night in Berlin, Schmidt argued, "People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon."

That tidbit, which has garnered its fair amount of coverage, was just one part of a broader argument against the criticism that Google controls too much of the Internet — which has been a big issue in Europe. (Video via Google)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Google clinched a settlement in its high-profile case with European anti-trust regulators, who addressed concerns that it was abusing its dominance in online search." 

That tentative settlement was made in February and, as CNET reports, it has since come under fire from regulators and competitors, who fear Google could use its huge market-share in Europe — around 90 percent — to quash competition. 

Google's response to that — as articulated by Schmidt— isn't necessarily that it won't use its power for evil, but that it couldn't because it doesn't actually have that power as it's just one of many "windows onto the web," as Schmidt put it. 

It's certainly the biggest, though, and it has come into conflict with European authorities as recently as this past summer, with the fight over Europeans' "right to be forgotten"  — which meant Google removing search results at the request of citizens. (Video via RT)

Google ultimately bowed to authorities — kind of — removing close to half a million URLs from localized google search engines, at the request of users, although Google has been criticized over that process as well. 

Compound that broader narrative with criticism of Google's handling of European taxes, and it's easy to understand why some analysts are labeling Schmidt's visit to Berlin and his speech Monday as a charm offensive or something like it. 

HANS NICHOLS, BLOOMBERG: "It's more of an explanatory offensive ... it seems like the evidence is mounting and the public sentiment is mounting, against google."

During his visit to Berlin, Schmidt also met with Germany's economy minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday.  

This video includes an image from Getty Images.