An anonymous reader writes: From 2015 through 2016 for nearly a year, results from searching e.g. "secure email" or "encrypted email" would vary little in most popular search engines and commonly yield mention of ProtonMail, typically within the first page. Not in Google, though. The ProtonMail team investigated and could find no cause. After receiving no substantial reply to their inquiries, ProtonMail turned to Twitter in August, where soon after, Google responded after correcting the issue. Yen, author of the ProtonMail article, writes the following in reference to what he calls "Search Risk":
"The danger is that any service such as ProtonMail can easily be suppressed by either search companies, or the governments that control those search companies. This can happen even across national borders. For example, even though Google is an American company, it controls over 90% of European search traffic. In this case, Google directly caused ProtonMail’s growth rate worldwide to be reduced by over 25% for over 10 months."