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The Future Of Search

News, Industry News 2nd Dec 2015

(This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would)

Hi there. Today I want to take you through the future of search. It’s going to be a quick overview of what threats face Google in the next sort of decade or so from existing competitors as well as new entries to the market.

First off, let’s have a look at the existing competitors. So we’re talking about Yahoo! Bing mainly in sort of the UK/US markets, but we’re also seeing a massive growth in DuckDuckGo as well as Baidu, the Chinese search engine.

So if we look at Yahoo! Bing, the way Windows 10 has integrated with Bing is a massive step forward for the search engine, and there’s also been sort of complaints again that they’re limiting competition. But this does present quite a good opportunity for Bing to grow its market share. As well as this, it’s had a tie up with Spotlight, the Apple search software, which means that it basically is integrated into Apple iPhones and iPads and any devices running the iOS software, which is a monumental market to be the default search engine on.

We also want to look at the threat from the newer competitors on the market. So DuckDuckGo have formed a huge, comprehensive search engine based on the whole idea of privacy being a huge issue and that Google infringes privacy too much with its existing products. DuckDuckGo has seen a massive, massive growth and recorded four million searches per year. So it’s seeing sort of huge inroads in terms of becoming a big competitor to Google.

As well as this, Baidu is a huge competitor in China. It absolutely dominates the search market, much like Google does here. That search engine is available for users outside of China. So anyone in Western Europe, America, or anywhere, in the same way that Google is, can use Baidu. It would just take a good sort of marketing push to start integrating that wealth of knowledge and expertise that Baidu obviously have into becoming a real competitor to Google and causing it some real issues.

As well as the existing competitors, Google has also got to be slightly aware of areas such as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

So Amazon is becoming one of the biggest competitors, and one of the heads of Google has already stated that Amazon is their biggest competitor. The reason he said this is because the product search on Amazon is huge. The market it has is massive, and one of the issues for Google is that product search is one of the main reasons why people advertise on Google. Bringing in that revenue is a huge part of Google’s advertising module, which brings in $58 billion every year for their business, and this is a core driver of Google.

So that’s a huge threat that Amazon have been able to pose. They’re really going to push forward with that, especially now they’ve started to exclude Google AdSense in Amazon as well, and they have started to exclude products such as Google Chromecast, for instance. It shows how much of an influence Amazon want to become in that market.

Facebook also have over a billion users, and they recorded a billion active users in one day, which again is not far off the numbers of Google. It’s just presenting another major opportunity for advertisers and Facebook itself to come together and create a real competitor to Google.

One of the big areas that Facebook could really excel at is local. It has a lot of location data. A lot of people like things from their local areas, and the knowledge it has on users is incredible. Even competitor Google, which has a lot of tracking features, but it doesn’t have the actual raw information per user that Facebook has. You can see through Facebook advertising at the moment how strong that data is to advertisers. So that provides a humongous opportunity for Facebook to really rival Google, especially in local searches and again probably moving into more web searches in the future.

There are also rumours that Apple may be using its Spotlight search feature, which has grown massively in the instruction of the new iOS, to create a web competitor for searches to Google. There’ve been a lot of rumours about job posts for specialists in search. This is one area that Apple, with its many billions in reserves, could give Google a real fight in terms of the iOs devices having inbuilt search software that bypasses Google completely.

So it’s a huge threat to Google, especially as mobile devices are becoming so popular. It would sort of mean Apple versus Android when it comes to mobile searches. So it presents a massive opportunity for Apple and a major threat to Google.

So the future of search is looking a bit more diverse than it used to be, especially for the UK and the US markets that have a massive reliance on Google. The competitors are growing in number and in ability and posing a much greater threat through specific types of searches, rather than Google sort of collect all search version of its algorithm.

So hopefully that gives you a little bit more information on the future of search. We’ve also written a blog post on it as well that you can have a look at. And if you’ve got any questions, please feel free to follow me @JamesaChallis. Thank you.

James Challis
About the author

James Challis

James is chairman of Koozai FC and a fan of Southampton FC, so if you’re a football fan you can judge him accordingly. He also turns up late to our Christmas parties and we never let him live it down. Ever.

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