Bing might be the world’s less popular search engine, but they’ve taken another to court. The reason why is hilarious.
Google probably immediately springs to mind when you ask what a search engine is. It is, after all, not only the name of a search engine but has become so synonymous with online searching that the company name, a proper noun (‘Look up how to fry an egg on Google.’), has merged into becoming a verb (‘I’ll Google it.’). Believe it or not, there are other, different search engines available on the internet, but a bit of a barney has erupted between Google and Bing. And it’s taken a turn for the postmodern.
Amid a court case over the €4.3bn ($5bn) fine Google received from a 2018 European Union antitrust order for abusing its market power, the tech titan has claimed that the most searched for word on Bing is ‘Google’.
“We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, ‘Google’,” said Alfonso Lamadrid, the search engine’s lawyer in the EU General Court.
He’s not lying. According to statistics compiled by SEO company Ahrefs, ‘google’ is indeed the top searched term on Bing worldwide. It’s followed by ‘YouTube,’ ‘Facebook,’ ‘Gmail,’ and ‘Amazon,’ but as a top-ranked search term, it beats the runner-up (‘youtube’) by around 5 million searches.
The EC has alleged Google made a strategic decision to squeeze out potential rivals and build near-monopoly market shares. The fine Google is disputing stems from how the European Commission claimed that Google has abused its position as the maker of Android; saying Google will have to stop forcing handset makers to pre-install Chrome and Google search if they want to have Android.
The in levelling the original fine, the EC claimed the company had paid off tech manufacturers and operators to exclude other search engines (Bing included), from their devices, saying Google had “obstructed the development of competing for mobile operating systems which could have provided a platform for rival search engines to gain traffic.”
Google’s fired back, saying that most people would just use its search engine anyway.
Bing, in case you were wondering (or are strictly an Apple person), is Microsoft’s web search engine. Its origins lie in their previous search engines’ incarnations, MSN Search, and Windows Live Search and is the default search engine for Microsoft products. If one is so inclined to revert their PC to its original settings, Bing is what you get. It’s presumed that most people who use Bing as a search engine do so because they haven’t adjusted their device’s settings.
Lamadrid went on to tell the court, “Google’s market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines.”
Which is legalese for “Don’t hate us because we’re popular.”
Going to Bing and searching for Google is the online equivalent of going to an information booth and asking where the nearest information booth is. But the argument they’re making, self-aware as it is, seems a valid one. When was the last time someone said they would ‘Alta-Vista’ directions to the gig?