For the last several years, Google has been the clear leader in the search stakes, but this is not necessarily a good thing. When Google was fighting against Yahoo, the race to the top was beneficial for everyone – users and webmasters, but now that Google is the clear winner, light years ahead of Bing and Yahoo, the market has stagnated.
Google has started culling products that it doesn’t have a lot of interest in – even if those products are popular – because it can afford to. It is even facing criticism from the EU for pushing its own services ahead of rivals. Ads are becoming more prominent, and the Knowledge Card is taking traffic away from third party websites. Google knows it has the average searcher’s attention, but it will not stop there – it wants to keep people within its own ecosystem.
Ads are Strangling Organic Traffic and Innovation Google brings in about $45 billion in search revenues every year. It is affordable for advertisers, and the ROI on advertising is something that looks deceptively strong. This is stifling innovation. Imagine if you could pay to search and get results that are based purely on merit rather than who paid the most to get the result put in front of you. Let’s face it, few people would consider that now they are conditioned to expect to get things for free, but it is an interesting option, and one that will likely never be explored because there is no incentive to do so. Google is already in a seemingly unassailable position.
Could Social Media Change the Way We Use The Web?
Of course, Google will not rule forever. Today, it is king, but there was a time when Netscape was the most popular browser, and now it no longer exists. There was a time when Microsoft Internet Explorer ruled the world, too, and that is now an afterthought for all but the least tech-savvy of users.
Google could be replaced by social media – Facebook has a great ad platform and is the most popular platform for social feeds, too. Facebook is becoming increasingly popular as a platform for sharing content, including news and video. It is a long way from taking over for all searches, but it is a strong discoverability platform, and it is getting stronger with each and every day. Who knows what will come next.