EU decides that Google is not a search engine

By EDRi · April 1, 2016

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. However, Google chooses not to search Tor websites and also complies with “robots.txt” requests, whereby website owners instruct search engines not to index their pages. 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.

“’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. “

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.

Oh, and as it is April 1, we should point out… this is not a joke.