The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Yes, we all know that Google is dominant in the realm of search.
But at the same time, the internet is also a huge place – and building a decent searching algorithm can’t be that hard, right?
This week’s chart is a bit mind-boggling, because it makes the case that Google is even more dominant than you may have guessed. Between all Google features and the search giant’s YouTube subsidiary, more than 90% of all internet searches are taking place through the company.
THE HARD DATA
According to Jumpshot (via SparkToro), a marketing analytics firm that licenses anonymous ClickStream data from hundreds of millions of users, about 62.6% of all searches online are through Google’s core function.
But that’s just the beginning, as that number doesn’t include other Google functions like image search or Google Maps, or properties such as YouTube:
|Search Platform||% of Searches|
Together, Google holds onto an impressive 90.8% market share of web, mobile, and in-app searches – though it should be noted that the above source does not include iPhone data at scale yet.
How does Google keep up such a massive market share, and why can’t a real competitor in search emerge?
The answer has to do with platforms and apps. Google’s strategy is to go where the users are, and to ensure that wherever they go, a Google search is not hard to do.
Over a decade ago, this meant being the home page on every internet browser – but more recently, it’s taken the form of internet browser market share (Chrome), mobile OS market share (Android), owning the dominant video platform (YouTube), and even venturing into your dwelling with Google Home.
As a result of these efforts, whenever users are searching, Google has never been far away.
LOW BIDS FROM COMPETITION
There are competitors that dare to pluck away at Google’s market share in search and ad revenue.
Microsoft’s Bing is the most known one, and it has the advantage of being integrated into Microsoft products all over the globe. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo is another name worth mentioning – the privacy-focused search engine doesn’t have anywhere near the same kind of financial backing as Microsoft, but it does differentiate its product considerably.
Yet, here’s a picture of U.S. search ad revenues. Bing is small, but others are smaller. DuckDuckGo doesn’t even register.
Why can no one match Google?
Part of the reason lies in the math. Google operates at an insane level, processing 3.5 billion searches per day. To get millions of people to try a different search algorithm is expensive – and to get them to keep that behavior permanently is even more expensive.
The only way such change becomes feasible is if a product comes out that is 10x better than Google, and at this point, such an event seems unlikely – at least in the current ecosystem.