Google is NOT a Search Engine says EU. The European Union has adopted legislation which establishes that Google is not a search engine. After two years of legislative process and negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, the final text would also mean that Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckgo are also not search engines. As part of the broad and frequently criticised Directive on Network and Information Security, a set of definitions were agreed. One of these definitions covered the notion of a “search engine” which is defined as a service searching “in principle all” websites. In short, neither Google nor any other search service … indexes or wants to index, in principle or in practice, all websites. Search engines therefore, on the basis of the Directive, do not exist in Europe.
Why is Google not a Search Engine?
According to the EU’s agreed upon definitions, a search engine searches all websites, which Google does not. Google does not search and/or index the Dark Web (Tor), nor does it search pages which it is directed not to by a site’s robots.txt file. The fact that Google complies with Right to Be Forgotten requests, and removes content such as revenge porn, also disqualifies it as a search engine by the EU’s definition. Google removes approximately one million individual web pages per day from its index for alleged copyright infringements, it de-indexes pages for other reasons, such as revenge porn and “mug shot” extortion. Vast swathes of Facebook are also not indexed by Google.
So What is a Search Engine?
There is currently no search engine in existence today which matches the definition laid out by the EU’s Directive on Network and Information Security.
“Online search engine’ is a digital service that allows users to perform searches of in principle all websites or a geographical subset thereof, websites in a particular language on the basis of a query on any subject in the form of a keyword, phrase or other input; and returns links in which information related to the requested content can be found.“
The key phrase “of in principle all websites” is technically what disqualifies all search engines as we know them today from being search engines by the EU’s definition. Perhaps one day EU will get its wish, but for now search engines are what they are, and they’re a far cry from what EU believes they should be.