Article

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson 15 May 2020

Will Someone Ever Break Google's Monopoly in The Search Industry?

Google and YouTube are two of the top three search engines in the world, and both are owned by the same organisation. It seems impossible that someone will break their monopoly. In this article we explore whether it is possible for a new search engine to dethrone Google.

Let’s face it, Google is huge. Not only is it the biggest search engine in the world, it also enjoys being owned by Alphabet Inc., which also owns YouTube, which is the second largest search engine in the world. Since you can log into Google and YouTube using the same account, and sometimes there are instances of your YouTube search history affecting your google search results and vice versa, we can safely assuming that Google is both the number one and number two search engine of the world. That is huge. That accounts for close to 90% of searches done online. Leaving a meagre 10% for the likes of Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and others to compete over. We didn’t mention Baidu there because we will get to it in a second.

So the question we want to explore in this article is this: can a new search engine come along and dethrone google? It will take something really groundbreaking to break Google’s monopoly. Is it even possible? Let’s find out.

It has been done before

There are many examples in the IT industry of monopolies being broken and their market share being taken away by new comers. Before Facebook, there was Friendster and Myspace. Before Gmail and Apple Mail, there was Hotmail. And before google, there was yahoo search. In some cases, better technology comes along and helps break a monopoly, in some cases better user experience does the trick, and in some cases, it is sheer dumb luck. It happens within the IT industry as well as outside of it all the time, a new startup comes along and grows overnight to form its own monopoly. So it is not out of the realm of possibilities that a future startup may come along and take Google’s place. So the question it, what would it take to do that and is it even possible?

New technology may help

We live in an exciting era of technological development. Great strides are being made in the world of voice search and image search. As these technologies become more and more advanced, people will be using them to search the internet for information. Voice search is quickly on the rise and it seems like that’s way of the future. People are asking their devices questions instead of typing them out. As I write this, my four-year-old has figured out how to tap the mic icon on my phone and say ‘cartoons’ instead of asking me to put Ben 10 on. It is literally so easy that a child can do it. What if, a new search engine came along that’s voice search only and delivers better results than Google? Farfetched, but not impossible.

Similarly, what if a new technology comes along that takes instructions directly from your brain? May be an AI that can predict what you will search for before you search for it? It all sounds like science fiction before it happens.

Google is not perfect

There are many things that Google practices that can be used by a worthy competitor to gain ground. Google has been criticized for keeping copious amounts of user data, promoting zero click searches through snippets, rolling out one core update after another that constantly affect rankings, and moving in a direction where ads will take more real estate on SERPs and will be indistinguishable from organic results.

If we take these things into consideration, there is room for a competing search engine to capitalize on these shortcomings and provide content creators with better equity and better real estate on SERPs.

Baidu Exists

Remember when we said YouTube was the second largest search engine in the world? Well, it is and it isn’t. It is in the sense that it is an international platform used by people all over the world. However, Baidu is the second largest search engine of the world if we go by the numbers and ignore the fact that it is dominates the Chinese market and the Chinese market alone. It holds a 66% market share in China. Baidu’s app has 195 million daily active users, and Google Assistant has 500 million monthly active users. While it can be argued that Google is banned in China, and that allowed for local search engines to capture that market, but Baidu is big enough in terms of size to give Google a run for its money.

However, Baidu uses Mandarin and you have to play with the language settings to convert it into English. However, it has used AI to learn English, so it does not lack the resources to try to compete against Google. That being said, as long as Google is banned in China, both search engines will probably stay within their territories.

So there you have it. It doesn’t look like anyone will be breaking Google’s monopoly in the search world any time soon, but it is not impossible and we have seen it happen before.

About the Author

Andrew Wilson is an SEO analyst at Rank Genie. He loves to watch movies, listen to podcasts, and plan about launching his own podcast. He has helped the Rank Genie team shape their rank tracker and make it one of the most easy-to-use and SEO friendly tracker out there. You can find his blogs on www.RankGenie.com.

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