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Google Dominates Global Search Even More than Desktop Search

Posted Jan 21 2013 12:00am

I find myself searching the web much more frequently with my smartphone these days because the screen is relatively large, the response is quick, and there are some features available such as verbal search that I find useful. I had not thought about it, but it turns out that Google dominates mobile search even more than desktop search. This fact was highlighted in a recent news article (see: Mobile Apps Drive Rapid Change in Searches ):

When the Federal Trade Commission decided last week to close its antitrust investigation of Google without charges, one important factor, though hardly mentioned, was just beneath the surface: the mobile revolution. Google has 96 percent of the global market for mobile Web searches. Google has repeatedly made the argument — and the commission agreed — that the speed of change in the technology industry made it impossible for regulators to impose restrictions without stalling future innovations. Exhibit A is the mobile device. Nowhere has technology changed as rapidly and consumer behavior as broadly. As people abandon desktop computers for mobile ones, existing tech companies’ business models are being upended and new companies are blooming....Google had new [mobile] competitors on all sides trying to chip away at its hold on the mobile search and advertising market. Still, Google is even more dominant on mobile phones than on desktop computers. It has 96 percent of the world’s mobile search market....It collects 57 percent of mobile ad revenue in the United States, while Facebook, its nearest competitor, gets just 9 percent....But, analysts say, as people change their search habits on mobile devices — bypassing Google to go straight to apps like Yelp’s, for example — that dominance could wane, or a competitor could swoop in and knock Google off its perch....On cellphones or tablets, for instance, people increasingly skip Google altogether in favor of apps like Flixster for movie times or Kayak for flights. Apple is taking on mobile search with Siri on the iPhone, which can answer questions about the weather or search for nearby restaurants. With its new mapping service, Apple has also entered local search.....The latest Google search apps for Android and Apple devices let people search by talking, and then offer spoken answers. And Google now shows its so-called knowledge cards — with answers to trivia questions or photos and details about people and places — on mobile devices.

I have been involved with information technology for about three decades. When I first started following the field, I thought the pace of development was dizzying and measured in months. Now change is measured in mere weeks. It had never occurred to me that an "app" could be designed in a way to supplant Google search but this article convinced me otherwise. When I am interested in finding a restaurant, I go straight to Yelp, bypassing the "standard" browser search. My reason for doing this is that Yelp provides me with better information more quickly about restaurants. The article also discussed a new search app called Izik where, according to the company home page, you "type less and get more." Retrieval results are simpler and includes images. A recent article discussed how an Izik search is optimized for tablets:  Meet Izik: Tablet-Friendly Search From Blekko

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