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Why is Google So Dominant?

  • May 21, 2022
  • Bradley Taylor

It is no coincidence that Google surged to the forefront of the search engine space twenty years ago. Their simple website homepage and superior algorithms made it easy for people to find what they were looking for. The company then went public and reinvested profits into the company and developed fantastic products like Gmail, android and Google street view among many others. So, why have they been able to hold on to the top spot so long with no real threat of losing it?

The Competition is Weak

Yahoo, MSN, Yahoo, Lycos, AOL, all of them had different business models and their own proprietary algorithms. Here are the reasons why Google has dominated them all:

  1. K.I.S.S – This old acronym stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. This is exactly what Google has done with their homepage and people like it. Check out this article about AltaVista, a search engine that started very much like Google but got away from simplicity and paid the price.
  2. Better Search Results – Google’s spiders have been more aggressive and consistent over the years. In return, fresh versions of pages with appropriate content have dominated search results. People love this.
  3. Incompetent Competition – Search engine competitors flooded their home pages with news, slanted politics and gossip all while delivering inferior and sometimes outdated results. They then fired and hired CEO’s and changed their layout, format and even their name.

Microsoft – MSN – Live – Bing

Microsoft created “Live Search” in 2006 as their official search engine in an effort to recapture some of the search market share they lost under “MSN”.  By 2010 they changed strategy again and put their formidable financial strength behind Bing, their latest search iteration.

Many saw Bing as a sort-of copy of Google. In many ways it was. Often you would see the same exact results being served on both platforms. In recent years we have seen Bing put more effort into their own algorithms. We have also seen them create plug-ins which work with platforms like WordPress in order to deliver the latest content. These are good ideas but they are not without their own problems.

Problems with Bing WordPress Plug-in

  1. Bing Doesn't update their plugins for wordpress very oftenBing’s WordPress plug-in relies on webmasters to download and configure the plug-in. They spend valuable time trying to get on a platform which holds a measly 3.5% of the overall search market share (Google has 77%).
  2. Plug-in often disconnects and needs to be reconnected.
  3. Plug-in not regularly updated. Microsoft seems to be like a cat that gets tired of their new play toy after a short period of time then completely ignores it.
  4. Plug-in is rated low among users.

Privacy Engine DuckDuckGo Still Not There Yet

Google has had some major controversies when it became apparent to the end user that they were the actual product and that there is a price for using Google’s products for free. That price is that Google uses and sells your data. This gave rise to privacy based search engines, the most successful of which is called duckduckgo.com

Duck Duck Go SearchThe DDG search and browser do not use cookies to track you and you don’t need to create an account to get its full benefits. It really is a great step in the right direction. The problem is the search results are lacking and the tools are not nearly as robust as Google’s. They still have a very long way to go.

And recently it was discovered that the DuckDuckGo browser was not as private as some may have thought. In a deal with, wait for it… Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo has allowed certain trackers of Microsoft’s to function on the DDG browser. The situation is described in better detail here.

Summary

In conclusion, Google is still king. They have many problems but they do enough right that people are willing to overlook these issues. The next big search engine will need to figure out a wrinkle which Google doesn’t have in order to gain ground. We don’t know exactly what that wrinkle is. The closest competition we can see is duckduckgo. People like privacy. If this privacy-based search engine can serve results on Google’s scale then it could take a big portion of the space.

Bing does not seem to have what it takes to get above a 5% share. Their search feature is forced onto every Windows computer, which sells many millions of copies per year, and yet it isn’t even making a sizable dent. In reality, Bing has nothing that separates it from Google nor does it have anything which makes them better in anyway. Bing is another silicon valley operation, which like all of its contemporaries, has publicly leaned left politically. A certain mindset will often result in group-think or parallel thinking. Bing will never get out of their rut if these factors remain constant.

Edit: We are adding this information as it develops.

Bing adds company name and news feed to homepage

Bing has now added “Microsoft” in front of the word “Bing” on it’s search engine. It has also decided to move away from the simple homepage of a search bar sitting on top of an always-changing image . They are now serving news stories at the bottom of their homepage going down the same road that AltaVista did (mentioned above) as every other search engine did as well (see screen capture below). It appears that DuckDuckGo and Google will remain the only two major engines to have a simple search bar as their homepage.

Bing adds company name and news feed to homepage
Screen capture of the latest edition of Bing reflecting both the Microsoft corporate name as well as the news fee.

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