yPeople in Germany use Google every day because it is useful to them when it is important. You can use a Google search to get relevant and trustworthy results, about the opening times of stores in Munich, the way to your vaccination center in Hamburg and millions of other questions small and large. Every day, people in Germany also naturally use other apps and websites to find information, book flights, and compare products. Fortunately, the choice of information sources and services is unlimited.
People use Google because it’s useful, not because they have to, or because they can’t find alternatives. It takes relentless investment, creativity and innovation to keep our products fit and working well. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve introduced more than 200 new features that help our users work better from home, go to school digitally, stay connected with family and friends, and find relevant health information. This includes free video conferencing with Google Meet, map details of Covid-19 case numbers in Google Maps or digital school lesson jobs in Google Classroom.
So it’s true that Google products look different now than they did a year ago or when there were only “ten blue links” in Google search. We are convinced that this development is beneficial to users and also to businesses throughout Germany that rely on our products.
Innovations in search are often controversial at the same time – companies in particular want their offerings to appear at the top whenever possible. Of course, not all search results can be displayed at the same time and prominently. Therefore, our focus is on delivering the results that are most relevant to users. If you are looking for a specific company, for example a restaurant or a store, we will contact you. Both consumers and the many businesses that appear in our results benefit from this. It helps small businesses in particular in attracting attention and customers.
It is important and useful to have a discussion on these issues. Politicians, academics, regulators, and the wider public sometimes have strong views on what should be relevant, and we welcome that. We have also given our views on regulations such as the European Law on Digital Markets (DMA) or German Competition Law (GWB) and how they will affect our users in the discussion. At the DMA, we encouraged lawmakers to improve the text so that it leads to more innovation, openness and more choice for European consumers.
When we get into a debate, we try to do so on the basis of facts that support our arguments. With this in mind, some of the statements in the recently published guest article “Google is very dominant in search” require a closer look.
We want to bring data and facts into the discussion that casts some of the authors’ concerns in a different light. In particular, we like to oppose the view that we are artificially “manipulating” search results for our own financial gain, that innovations in Google search will reduce the quality of search results, and that we have raised the prices of digital ads. These claims are unfounded – and in no way supported by data.