Google has the lion's share of the search engine market, almost all if we are being honest. With very little in the way of competition the company enjoys a virtual monopoly within the industry. This huge company and its search engine have evolved beyond recognition. Understanding where they came from may give a clue to how the search engine giant will evolve in the future
The History Of Google Search
The phrase “Google it” has become the gateway to the internet. It’s an action many of us do often, but the history of the company that provides the search service starts back in 1996.
Google starts with Larry Page And Sergey Brin, two computer science students studying at Stanford University. Larry developed a search algorithm in 1996 called “backrub”; the pair then collaborated on an algorithm called PageRank. This broke new ground in search engine technology at the time by ranking websites by their link structures and how they related to other sites. Both algorithms led to the publication of a research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”. This paper and the future company created by its authors would have world-changing consequences in the future. In 1998 Google received a $100,000 investment from Andy Bechtolsheim which saw the company take off. Google has emerged to be a behemoth in power and profits from its small beginnings in the late 90s.
What Does Google Offer?
Google has added many products and services along the way; these include email services, Google Docs, a Microsoft Word competitor, and Google Drive, a cloud storage service. Google is responsible for the development of the Android smartphone operating system and even their own smartphones, the Pixel range. But ultimately Google is synonymous with the development of its search engine which has had regular updates to its offering as well as its business model.
The Importance of Being Ranked on Google
You only have to search how to get ranked on Google to see that many businesses offer Search Engine Optimisation services so you can buy your way to exposure. But in reality, Google offers its own ads-based marketing at a price and only if your product line is accepted by their terms and conditions. If accepted by their terms you can buy your way to a paid advert listing at the top of search results, however, people are well aware of this and tend to look further into Google’s natural listings. To appear here is a much more difficult proposition. Turning to SEO companies you will see a variety of methods forwarded, but always with an eye to Google deciding to change its approach to search rankings, it is not an exact science and Google themselves have a financial benefit to offering paid search results prominently.
Other methods of marketing on social media rival Google's ability to gain targeted exposure for a brand or business wishing to reach out to its customer base. Although as a search engine, Google does not have any comparable rivals, businesses are moving away somewhat from Google’s approach of customers searching for what they want in a search bar or via a personal assistant and more towards the interactive nature of social media that gives customers the ability to interact with brands in a way Google does not offer.
For a person looking for a specific task or service, Google remains the go-to method for connecting them together. With the ability to read a quick summary and then go directly to their website, for customers it is the perfect and easily the most accessible way to access that largely unknown internet.
The Downside to Google Having a Monopoly
As we are effectively not choosing the results we see on a Google search, we are seeing what Google wishes us to see. This can have very far-reaching effects on the industries that rely on being found online to survive. It can be hard for smaller ventures, ones that offer unique experiences, or ones with an up-and-coming business model that is ahead of the competition to get their word out there. Google always seems to favour big players in each industry. This is true for new casinos looking to increase their popularity due to Google’s stranglehold over gambling, as it is an industry that is so reliant on search engines this has a marked effect.
Burgeoning technologies have a hard time getting exposure through search engines as it tends to show results based on keywords, and new tech sometimes takes a while to gain traction.
With one search engine having such a monopoly the subject of censorship and the forwarding of a company's own goals through the results it provides are a constant concern.
Google itself is currently facing a €25 billion lawsuit in both the UK and Europe where they are accused of anticompetitive conduct and an abuse of power in the ad tech market. This is alleged to have led to harm to publishers including the local and national news industries.
This lawsuit is happening right alongside the UK competition watchdog's investigation into the extent in which Google controls the digital advertising tech markets. It’s estimated the victims have collective losses of an estimated £7 billion. Included are small local websites providing news as well as national media which all rely on advertising revenue that is directly generated because of the content they produce or host. The UK lawsuit will be of an “opt-out” nature, meaning the inclusion of all affected parties unless they specifically object. The European claim is of an “opt-in” nature. This will leave Google exposed to many thousands of claimants
The Future of Google
If you had asked someone 10 years ago what their search engine of choice is, then Ask Jeeves would have likely been the answer of choice and people would not have been able to anticipate that it would have disappeared. However, Google is now so intertwined with different devices including TV and phone that the chances are it isn’t going to disappear from our lives anytime soon.