Google dominates Web search, but faces challenges: report

Google dominates Web search, but faces challenges: report: “As it readies its share offering, Google dominates the Internet search market but faces challenges as it tries to broaden its services, research firm Standard and Poor’s said.”

On the not surprising side of things, the study by S&P Equity Research Services, and conducted by online market research firm InsightExpress, found 48 percent of search engine users use Google most overall, compared to 20 percent for Yahoo!, 14 percent for Microsoft’s MSN business unit, and a mere 7 percent for Time Warner’s America Online subsidiary. (AOL has a multi-year agreement licensing the Google algorithmic Web search index on its own AOL Search property, as well as a revenue sharing deal for distribution of Google AdWords.) As well, 83 percent of Web users were extremely pleased with the search engines they use and cited Google for its relevance and accuracy of its results.

The story continues.

But S and P analysts said Google could face challenges as it expands beyond search into offerings such as shopping, social networking, and e-mail services.

Asked about Google’s planned launch of its e-mail service known as Gmail, only eight percent of those surveyed said they were very likely and 15 percent said they were somewhat likely to use the service, which promises virtually unlimited storage and the capacity to search old e-mails, and would target advertising to users.

Moreover, more than six out of 10 Google users indicated they would switch search engines if a better service came along.

Google will definitely need to keep these items in mind, especially with its Orkut social networking service. Initially, Orkut received a much-hyped response but interest has waned and its monthly unique visitor totals have presumably declined — just has the numbers for rival Friendster have.

Post-IPO, when Google is flush with billions of dollars in cash, it might consider making a play for Monster Worldwide, Inc. — the parent company of the Monster.com job search and recruiting Web site; social networking and online assessment network Tickle, Inc.; and Yellow Pages marketer TMP Worldwide, Inc. Monster.com would give Google a very successful and profitable entrance into the job hunting market, where it could compete aggressively with Yahoo! subsidiary HotJobs. Tickle would give Google a much better (and bigger) social networking service, with technology that is much greater than Orkut and a much larger registered user base. And finally, TMP Worldwide would give Google another niche — Yellow Pages advertising services in numerous print telephone directories around the globe. So strategically and financially, that would be an excellent route for Google to go.

Its other non-search assets, namely Google Groups 2, Gmail, and Froogle, also need continued improvement in order to resonate with users. Google Groups 2 still lacks critical functionality, like the ability to delete a group or share files. Gmail has some problems still, such as a lackluster spam filtering system and plaguing privacy concerns. Froogle is probably Google’s best, non-search service. However, unlike rivals Shopping.com, NexTag, BizRate, or PriceGrabber, it lacks a financial model. Google needs to figure out how to keep users to its Froogle property and monetize those visits.

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4 thoughts on “Google dominates Web search, but faces challenges: report

  1. The one thing I’ve always hated about these so called surveys is that they end up getting billed as being somewhat representative of the web populace as a whole – I mean you question a couple of thousand people on any given topic and the results can end be being skewed any which way – or depending on who sponsors or actively encourages the timing of these surveys they can be biased towards certain ends (not mentioning any names ‘MS’). Looking at Google News recently, nearly every news site is picking up on some obscure facts/figures about Google’s position/future potential and trying to peddle them off as fact – yuck !!

  2. Very true. However, you do raise an important issue that somewhat disturbs me. Google News has been indexing crummy, unreliable “news” sources that would never pass as journalism in the brick-and-mortar, print world. Some that I am referring to specifically, include: CSI Files (a message board for CSI fans), Infoshop News (a community, news-driven, portal-like site for anarchists), The Futon Critic (a one-man blog operation who rehashes entertainment news from the trades [such as Reuters, The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety]), and even Slashdot to an extent.

    I would never expect my blog to be included as a news source, even though it discusses the various issues of the day. Google should come up with a Google Blog Search (presumably located at blog.google.com) and frequently index and feature weblogs and other non-traditional sources of information. Moreover, it would also be more fair as anyone with a blog could request (and receive, provided you aren’t banned from Google for violating the Terms of Service) frequent indexing in Google Blog Search. Similarly, Google News could gain a more reputable stature in the journalism community just like Yahoo! News as it would index only sources as wire services, print newspapers, magazines, trade publications, websites of broadcast and cable TV outlets, press release newswires, and so forth.

    Wouldn’t you agree?

    Cheers,
    Doug

  3. Yeah, some of the sources are somewhat dubious at best, I imagine they’re choosing the blogs based on how popular they are, which is fair enough I guess.

    In recent months I’ve come to look on Google News as my one stop shop for daily news because its coverage/sources are so widespread, the only things that bug me, I guess, are like you said some sources can be quite well, weird, but also the way they list same source articles as separate entries in one big long list (especially when sorting by date or searching specific company, etc.) – very poor interface, should be easily resolvable ?

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