Whenever people ask me what is going to be the next great search engine I always tell them… it’s over… Google has won and has made sure they stay on top.
How did they do it?
1) They built an amazing product that was so much better than anything else out there.
2) They bought market share by cutting deals with anyone that would let them be the default search engine. Deals were made with AOL, Apple (mobile and desktop browsers), Firefox and many others to be the default search engine.
Microsoft’s Steve Balmer has always referred to Google as a one trick pony, pointing out that almost all of Google’s revenue comes from blending in ads in its search listings and on people’s websites (Google AdSense).
Mr. Balmer is right about Google’s revenue stream and I have written many times about how interesting it would be if someone were to step in and outbid Google for some of those properties. I just thought that company was going to be Yahoo!
But it appears as if Microsoft is that company. This is going to be very interesting. I just finished reading an article in Business week claiming that Microsoft has come to terms with Apple and Bing will become the search engine on the iPhone (most likely OS 4.0 release). A deal with Verizon last summer made Bing the default search engine on most Verizon (non-Android) phones. In my opinion this is HUGE and a clear signal of Microsoft’s intentions.
Microsoft is a lion and they are relentless. They are the only company who have any shot at dethroning Google’s massive market share. They have the patients, money, and resources to do it.
Before you think I am too crazy follow me for a minute.
First of all Microsoft’s Bing is a really good search engine. I have started using it more and more… ironically the same way I started using Google. I was not getting the results I was looking for in Google so I tried it… and it worked. Then I started using it as my default search engine. It’s actually a good search engine.
Honestly I am not big fan of all the clutter Google has put in the results. I don’t like the real time twitter crap, images, news, blog posts in my search results. Maybe you like it? I just want what I am looking for. I started and continued using Google because it was amazingly lightweight and fast. Now it’s bloated with crap and its turning me off.
Maybe I am way off base but I think this is all the perfect storm for Microsoft to jump in with Bing and really make a run at it.
Can you imagine if Microsoft outbid Google to become the default search engine for Firefox, AOL, and Safari?
If you average out most places that keep track of such stats on browser marketshare you will find that Firefox, AOL and Safari account for about 45% of the browser market share…. THAT’S HUGE! If Microsoft can lock down deals with these companies then its fricking on.
Ok so how does Google fend off an attack like this? Well… imagine if they drop support for all browsers BUT Chrome…. Now wouldn’t that be something.
Imagine if you went to use your GMail, Google Docs, Google Maps, or any of the countless other “services I can’t live without” that Google produces and it only worked on the Chrome browser….
It’s going to be interesting how this pans out.