According to new legislation adopted by the European Union, Google is no longer considered to be a search engine.
It has taken the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union over two years of negotiations and legislative process to come to the decision. The decision also declares that Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo should no longer be classed as search engines either.
According to the EU’s agreed definitions, a search engine has to search all websites, which, at present, Google does not. Google does not search and/or index the dark web, nor does it search pages which it is directed not to by a site’s robots.txt file.
Google’s decision to comply with Right to Be Forgotten requests and remove inappropriate content also disqualifies it from being a ‘proper’ search engine under the EU’s latest definition.
Here’s where things get a little tricky: currently, there is no search engine in existence today which matches the definition laid out by the EU’s Directive on Network and Information Security.
The definition states:
“An 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 phrase “of in principle all websites” is technically what disqualifies search engines as we know them from being search engines under the EU’s definition. One day the EU may get its wish, but for now search engines are what they are, and they’re vastly different from what EU believes they should be.