Duckduckgo: Google disadvantages other search engines

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Duckduckgo CEO Gabriel Weinberg accused the search engine giant in an interview with Google that Google misused Chrome’s browser extension to favor its own products and suppress the products of others Washington Post before. Duckduckgo is known as a search engine that cares about the privacy of its users. The Google alternative itself advertises that it does not store any personal data and, according to its own information, now records over 100 million daily search queries – but Google is slowing growth.

In the interview, Weinberg saidthat Google uses manipulative design features – “dark patterns”. These are intended to discourage users from using competing products. For years this practice has led to misleading notifications, whereby users deactivate the browser extensions of the competition. This would discourage users from switching from Google Chrome to another product.

Weinberg said the “subtle” changes Google made to Chrome in 2020 resulted in a significant ten percent decrease in new users. Hundreds of thousands of new users have been lost to Duckduckgo, which has led to a loss of millions in sales. After adding the Duckduckgo extension, users will be asked if they want to switch back to Google search. The button to switch back is larger and also placed more prominently than the button “keep”.

Google: Ask about search engine change

(Image: Google and Duckduckgo)

Google spokeswoman Julia Tarallo McAllister defended the practice by saying that Chrome users would often complain if an added extension changes a setting “unexpectedly and without their knowledge” like this Washington Post reported. Chrome users can change their default search settings at any time. In addition, the “problem” has long been well documented and is the reason for Google’s “demand for clear disclosure for extensions”. Accordingly, the notification would appear regardless of the selected search engine provider. Other browsers have similar guidelines, McAllister explained.

Microsoft Bing: Note when searching for the browsers Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi

“For search engines like us that are trying to actively enable consumers to switch, [oder] Choosing an alternative makes it inappropriately complicated and confuses consumers, “Weinberg said in the interview. That is why Duckduckgo has informed US government agencies of his concerns.

Only recently did the Federal Cartel Office determine that Google has “overriding cross-market importance” and wants Google, or Alphabet, respectively, to forbid, among other things, the preferential treatment of its own products in the future. But it is not only because of its market power that Google is repeatedly criticized.

At the end of 2020, ten US states sued because of Google’s violations of antitrust law, consumer protection laws and its associated monopoly. Because of its anticompetitive practice in placing results on price comparison services, Google lost to the Court of Justice of the European Union at the end of 2021 and was fined billions in the context of this.


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