Is Google More Than Just A Search Engine?
For years now, Google has been the undisputed leader in the battle for search engine market share. Consider, if you will, the level to which Google has become part of our everyday lives. It’s become much more than just a convenient way to find things online. For most people, it’s the only way. In fact, “google” has been listed as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary for nearly 7 years.
We’re talking about being on par with Kleenex™. Think about it, when is the last time you asked for a tissue? Depending on how old you are, did you even know that’s what those little rectangles you use when you have the sniffles are actually called? Every once in awhile, a company comes along that redefines part of our language as well as our culture. Google happens to be one of those companies.
Search Engine Market Share April 2013
Maybe Google isn’t just a search engine. Maybe any other search engine is just a feeble attempt to be Google. (That sounds strange, but isn’t that how many people view Kleenex? “Any other brand is just a cheap imitation.”)
How much does Google dominate the search market?
I suppose it depends on your definition of “dominate,” but in a detailed breakdown of the numbers done by Search Engine Land it’s clear that Google stands head and shoulders over the competition.
In short, Google dominates the search engine market, and has been dominating it for years.
Is Google untouchable?
In an interview on Pocket-Lint, Vint Cerf, inventor of the TCP/IP standard and an internet pioneer, made it very clear that Google doesn’t see itself as anywhere near invincible:
“There’s nothing to stop someone from developing better technology than we have and to invent something even more powerful and efficient and effective. Which, of course, scares us. And that’s good because it means we run as fast as we can to develop better tools for search in order to try to stay ahead of the game.”
Of course, Google has reasons to pretend that they can be beat, even if they can’t be – all the anti-trust and anti-competitive charges and suits that have been thrown at them.
Is there hope for other search engines?
RYP Marketing recently completed a survey of over 500 internet users to examine Google’s dominance. The survey results are mixed, but do offer hope to competitors who are trying to beat Google. Here are the relevant data points:
- 21.6% of respondents were dissatisfied with Google’s privacy policies/actions. While I would have expected a higher number, this is a significant pool of users that a competitor could work to win away from Google. Unfortunately, not many respondents actually said they would switch for privacy reasons, so it may be that Google isn’t “bad enough” yet to drive users away.
- A large portion (about 42%) of respondents said a search engine just has to deliver better results, and they would leave Google.
- 69% of respondents had used Yahoo, Bing, Ask, or DuckDuckGo in the past 6 months. This is massively good news for Google’s competitors. This demonstrates that users are at least trying other search engines, which gives competitors the opportunity to deliver a better experience and win users away from Google.
- There was some bad news for Google’s competitors also – about 16% said there is nothing that could convince them to abandon Google.
So while it is certainly possible that, as Cerf puts it, “…there could be somebody just like Larry and Sergey [Page and Brin of Google] on some university campus with an idea we don’t have that could explode on the scene and take the business away,” it’s going to take something truly revolutionary to unseat Google from its search dominance throne. But, in the fast-paced world of Internet innovations you never know when something like that could come along seemingly out of the blue.
Can Google be unseated? Yes, but it will be very difficult.