There is one site, which for many people, is their gateway to the internet. Instead of remembering a site address many people google it and then click on the link. If Granny wants to visit Tesco’s website, she doesn’t type in tesco.com – that would be too difficult – instead, she googles Tesco and then clicks on the first link that comes up. It is easy to laugh but many people do the same.
Such is Google’s dominance, for many people it is the internet. Even though it is more difficult to fire up Google and search for a site than it is to simply type in a domain name. The fact that there are millions of searches for “google” on Google each year should, perhaps, surprise no one. Although it has diversified in recent years – Google Docs and Gmail for example – search remains at the hub of its business. Statistic show the global market share of leading internet search engines. In April 2019, online search engine Bing accounted for just over three percent of the global search market. During the same month, Chinese search engine Baidu had a market share of less than one percent. Google dominates the search engine market, maintaining a near 90 percent market share as of April 2019.
The figures can be broken down further. On the desktop, Google accounts for over 70 percent of searches while its nearest competitor, Bing, can’t even break out into double-figures. On mobiles and tablets, Googles market dominance runs at 95% – as reported by NetMarketShare. That means – across platforms and devices – nine out of every ten people who use the internet around the world use Google. That is a massive dominance.
So why is Google the best at what it does?
Google is so successful because at the time that it launched – late 1990s – it provided much better search results than any of its competitors. As the years have gone by they have continued to provide excellent search results but done so in a way people appreciate. Yahoo used to be the most successful search engine but at a time when most people were on slow, dial-up connections their website was cluttered and slow to load. On the other hand, Google’s was simple and has remained the same. A logo and a search box is all you get. Anything else is hidden in a very small menu in the top right-hand corner of the page – just in case you want anything else, it’s not in your face.
Personally, I think Google understands better than any other company that a search engine needs to achieve two things in order to be successful: it needs to be simple to use and it needs to get rid of users as quickly as possible. Bing seems to think that people want to loiter and enjoy their nice graphics. Google finds what you are looking for and then gets rid of users quickly.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want from a search engine?