Concerns over Google’s search dominance are unfounded at a time when desktop searches have declined to 40 percent and a growing number of people are turning to Amazon or social networks like Facebook to find answers and recommendations.
Those are some of the arguments that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt put forth in a speech in Berlin on Monday, in an apparent pushback against calls by European politicians and media to slap new regulatory controls on [company]Google[/company].
Schmidt’s speech aimed to frame Google not as an 800-pound gorilla, but as part a larger tech universe where powerful companies lose their crowns with surprising speed:
Look at [company]Yahoo[/company], Nokia, [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]Blackberry[/company] and others who seemed unrivaled just a few years ago, but were disrupted by a new wave of tech companies, Google among them. […] You look at Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon and say there’s no way competitors can beat them. I’m less certain.
Schmidt also took a swipe at [company]Expedia[/company], [company]Yelp[/company], and [company]TripAdvisor[/company], which compete with Google in fields like travel, saying these rivals fail to acknowledge how quickly the web is involving and would “rather go back to 10 blue links.”
The speech also drew special attention to Amazon, calling it Google’s biggest competitor in search, and pointing to research that suggests a third of people looking to buy something begin on Amazon.
While Schmidt’s speech is obviously designed to help Google fend off anti-trust accusations, some of it appears well-founded. Increasingly, [company]Amazon[/company] or Facebook or various other sites are people’s entry point to the web, while the switch from desktop to mobile computing means Google’s search box is not as ubiquitous as once it was.
For now, however, Google has its hands full in Europe as a result of new “right-to-be-forgotten” rules, in addition to a long-running, and still unresolved investigation, into how the company treats competitors’ search results.