Google chairman Eric Schmidt has told an audience in Berlin that Amazon is the search company's biggest rival.
Schmidt said that, while web users might assume that Google's major rivals are Bing and Yahoo, it is in fact the online retail giant.
His comments come as Google is under investigation for uncompetitive business practices, and it is possible that Schmidt is trying to divert attention. The investigation has seen rivals provide European competition investigators with evidence or examples of how Google might exploit its dominance.
"In the replies to our letters the complainants have submitted new arguments and data, some of which should be taken in consideration. We are now in contact with Google to see if they are ready to offer solutions," the EC said in September as it pushed the search firm for more concessions.
Schmidt, perhaps with this in mind, told his audience that the companies considered to be its main rivals are not.
Earlier in his speech, Schmidt tackled the competition question head on, accusing rivals of complaining about features that are to their benefit.
"This issue of providing direct answers to questions is at the heart of complaints being made about Google to the European Commission," he said.
"Companies like Expedia, Yelp and TripAdvisor argue that it deprives their websites of valuable traffic and disadvantages their businesses. They'd rather go back to 10 blue links.
"What's interesting is that the traffic these websites get from Google has increased significantly, faster in fact than our own traffic, since we started showing direct answers to questions."
He added that consumers have a lot of choice and they exercise it, and that Google is popular because it is good at what it does.
"Google isn't useful because it's popular; we're popular because we're useful. Of course, the more people use our search engine, the more useful we are to advertisers, but just as users have choice when it comes to information discovery, advertisers have options when it comes to online marketing," he said.
"You can use Google and the competition. These relationships are not mutually exclusive."
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