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Google Has Plenty of Competition

From Bing and the Social Web to the Government and Milk Cartons

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When we think of Google’s competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft often come immediately to mind. We think of other search engines. There’s no question that Google is (by far) dominating this space. What do you think Google’s greatest source of competition is? Share your thoughts.

We all know that Google has its hands in many other projects beyond search, but even in search itself, it is not impossible that another could come along and win people over. Microsoft’s trying with Bing, and it could succeed. I’m not saying it will or that it is probable, but it is not impossible.

The rise of social media has put an interesting spin on the whole web dominance game, and has given Google even more to worry about. The company’s co-founder Larry Page has acknowledged publicly that Google has to get on board with real-time search, because Twitter search came along and highlighted a need that most people never saw coming, even just a couple years ago.

Twitter Search

Facebook is much bigger than Twitter (so far), and it is getting more Twitter-like as time goes on. People can now make their Facebook status updates public (like Twitter). This means that real-time search is a need here too. Real-time search is only a piece of the puzzle though. Twitter search or Facebook search won’t replace the need for what Google search offers, but it’s part of the big picture.

Beta Facebook Publisher

Another part of the big picture is the government. The New York Times ran a piece, over the weekend looking at this, noting that some analysts say that government opposition could pose the biggest threat to Google.

Miguel Helft of the New York Times

"The Justice Department is examining the hiring practices at Google and other technology companies, and it is investigating a class-action settlement between Google and groups representing authors and publishers," explains the NYT’s’ Miguel Helft. "The Federal Trade Commission is looking into ties between the boards of Google and Apple."

You probably also remember the infamous Google-Yahoo deal that never was. You might say that Google’s greatest competition comes from Washington. Helft also brings up the negative impact such issues could have on the company’s reputation among users who have otherwise viewed Google in a positive light.

According to Helft, Google also says it’s competing with sites like Amazon, WebMD and Wikipedia, and in terms of ad dollars, Google is competing with "television, radio, print publications, bus stop benches and milk cartons." If you want to break down every aspect of Google’s offerings, you will be able to name a lot more competitors.

Google’s Senior Competition Counsel, Dana Wagner tells the NYT that Google could be dethroned if it stops innovating. I would agree with that to an extent, but you would have to throw some other elements into the mix, such as acquisitions and marketing.

Microsoft is throwing tons of money into the marketing of Bing, and so far it has managed to generate quite a bit of interest – perhaps more than the company has ever managed to do in the search industry. The consumer response has been mixed, but much of it has been positive. And Bing isn’t the only thing Google has to worry about.

The point to all of this is, Google has a lot of competition from all sides. So far, Google is doing a good job of staying on top of its game, but that doesn’t mean it is not vulnerable. It could take a perfect storm of occurrences, offerings, and marketing from other companies, the government, and consumer response to put a significant dent in Google’s dominance on the web, but to think of it as impossible, is naive. Google knows this, and has acknowledged it.

Do you agree that Google is vulnerable to competition? Tell WebProNews readers what you think.

Google Has Plenty of Competition
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  • http://www.crearecommunications.co.uk Adam

    Yes Google has competition from all over the place, not just search programs – but at the end of the day nothing will be a massive threat to Google. They have the brand power to compete with just about anything.

    • Guest123

      Saying that google is a name brand is not a valid argument. I think Xerox, Kodak, Polaroid and America On Line would like to point out that name alone won’t keep you moving.

  • http://www.aksindiblog.com Aswani

    Yes, Google has a competition from all sides. But its ineffective in my opinion. Unless people themselves decide not to use google services for any reason specified, I don’t see any big obstacle ahead of Google. Google is just like any other company but what separates it from others – It is the most innovative company in my opinion. Others may do the same thing but the rate at which Google innovates is just awesome !

  • http://www.adtwik.com omar

    In my opinion beside microsoft and yahoo google’s main rivals are facebook, news corp, twitter and adobe (with omniture purchase)