Woke up this morning thinking further about my statement yesterday that Microsoft should by Twitter. I really think that if Google does not buy Twitter and it lands in the hands of Microsoft, it could potentially become a great equalizer. Bing’s real time search results would be exclusive and therefore at the very least very different from Google. Bing needs to do something, it is sort of floundering as many companies do when they are not really committed to being the best.
On the other hand if Facebook buys Twitter, Google has a much bigger problem, potential elimination from real time search. Facebook is the number one visited website in the world. Now this is great, but their problem is, their visitors are not interested in buying anything, they do not click on ads, they do not convert into $$, and this is becoming a problem for the future of Facebook. It is sort of the old school internet business model on steroids: build it,make it cool and free, get traffic, and with traffic all your problems will be solved. Now if your roll Twitter into Facebook, you do not get any better profit generation, but now you hold all the cards in real time search. Facebook could place extraordinary value on this real time data, and begin to charge search engines massive amounts of fees to access their websites and data. If the search engines do not agree to pay these outrageous fees, then Facebook can begin to build their own search engine. Even if their algorithm was not very robust to begin, with having the real time data from Facebook and Twitter would insure that they provide phenomenal real time information (that would not be found anywhere else) and can use this real-time data VERY effectively. It is a fact that no one is really Tweeting or Facebooking about the spamming Viagra website they found on page one of Google, nor the insurance website they found in BING. Therefore Facebook would be able to quickly put a serious reduction on spam, create a place in search, and provide themselves with very bright future for profitability and a serious chunk of what Google and BING currently have.
As an internet marketing professional, I really do not care who does what. I do not own the game, just play by the rules set forth by people far smarter and wealthier than I. I must say though, I really like Twitter in the hands of Facebook or Microsoft. Lets see what Google is really made of….
Beside the big and known Google, Yahoo, Bing, Blekko and Ask.com and the local leaders Baidu and Tandex, there are several other, “little” search engines – such as HotBot and DuckDuckGo. The latter was launched in 2008 and has a very, very limited market share with about 2.5 million searches a month. However, everyone is trying to gain ground these days – and if this is done on expense of Google – it is even better.
DuckDuckGo tries to gain users by emphasizing their pretty unique approach – they do no store search data. Either this is done on purpose or the company simply does not have the necessary resources, the manner is now advertised as being solely correct.
In an aggressive marketing campaign, the company specifically highlights “the Google way” of “invading your privacy”, stating that with little effort, your search history associated with computer IP and, stored at Google servers can be tracked down to you in person. Next goes your personal data, credit history, insurance policy etc.
Although the campaign (as most advertising campaigns) is not entirely correct, purposely exaggerating the “big brother” threat of in its quest of “making the privacy aspects of search engines understandable to the average person” (quoted is DuckDuckGo founder, Gabriel Weinberg), it might have an effect on certain privacy-concerned users. Will they switch to DuckDuckGo or go elsewhere? That is another question, of course…
With Google being the most popular search engine in the world, and particularly in the US, it is not yet gained enough ground in non-English speaking countries. While in India, the UK and Australia Google is the runaway leader in Search Engine competition, there are still countries in which local search engines are quite successful in opposing the G- giant. Baidu is number one in China (and there is also a new player in the SE field, supported by the government – goso.cn), and most former USSR-countries internet users (Russian speakers) prefer Yandex over Google.
Yet, Google is trying hard to get into the local markets. Recently, it has reported a successful takeover of the number one spot in Czech Republic, surpassing the local leader Seznam.cz in the first week of 2011.
Seznam, however, does not agree, stating that the statistics are not conclusive, and presents different figures, such as having almost 70% of Czech internet “population” with about 4 million users. Moreover, Seznam.cz emphasizes the misleading inaccuracy, as Google statement is based on report that takes into account both local and global pages, while Seznam only concentrates on Czech-based domains. They are also accusing Google of “refusing to participate in official measuring”.
Well, whether Google report is accurate or not is not very significant. The important fact is that Google puts an enormous amount of effort to increase the grasp of local, non-English-speaking markets.