Who does Google fear most in the ‘search’ market?
Who provides the biggest threat to Google’s Search Engine dominance? Well, naturally you’d assume that it would be rivals like Bing and Yahoo, otherwise why would Google have made the concessions it did in February. During an antitrust investigation by the European Union earlier this year, Google ‘reluctantly’ agreed to give equal standing to rival services like Microsoft in its search engine results, in order to avoid multi-billion pound fines. But the truth which may surprise many people is that the search engine behemoth actually fears the emergence of Amazon more than it fears Microsoft. It sees the Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, as its biggest rival in online search.
How do we know this is the case?
Well, simply because the chairman told us. In a recent interview Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, rejected claims that its search engine enjoyed unrivalled dominance of the online search market, and said that Google faces competition in the sector from what most people would consider to be unlikely sources; sources like Amazon, particularly when it comes to online buying. In a speech in Berlin, Mr Schmidt pointed out that competition in the search engine market shouldn’t always be looked at on a “like for like” basis:
“Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon,” he said.
“People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon,” he added.
He was keen to point out that there were significant differences between what Amazon was offering and the service that Google delivered, but he felt that at heart they were both singing from the same broader hymn sheet:
“They are obviously more focused on the commerce side of the equation, but, at their roots, they are answering users’ questions and searches, just as we are.”
So why does Google fear Amazon more that its other rivals? Well, it’s partly because the world’s largest online retailer has recently made the headlines by moving beyond what many consider to be its core e-commerce business. In August it fought off Google and managed to acquire the live-streaming gaming network, Twitch Interactive, paying £603 million for the privilege. That major acquisition was the largest in its 20 year history.
That purchase won’t obviously threaten Google’s dominance of the search engine market.
It currently holds 90% cent of the market and remains dominant in the sector. However, what it does demonstrate is that the market is still open for emerging competition. Yahoo and Bing may not have threatened Google’s dominance of the market, but who’s to say someone else won’t. That’s what the search engine giant is really afraid of – the ‘next’ Google:
“Someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us. I know, because not long ago we were in that garage. Change comes from where you least expect it,” he added.