Despite Google’s seemingly iron grip on the search engine market, there are a few dark clouds threatening to darken their horizon. The first threat to Google’s dominance is the sheer number of people using social networks. According to Comscore, most web users spend time on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn than they do searching on Google. Google’s plan to address this problem, the birth and development of their own social network Google+, did not work in the way they had hoped. Google+ is gaining popularity, but is in no way a threat to Facebook’s1.9 billion users.
Facebook have been quick to use this to their advantage, and have rolled out Graph Search in the US. This allows users to search for information within their own social network and locality. Graph Search uses natural search, allowing users to search in a more regular speech pattern, and this has proved popular, for example, rather than typing ‘Best English tutor San Francisco Bay Area’ you can type ‘who is the best English tutor in the Bay area of San Francisco’.
Google have realised that users much prefer natural search, as the sheer amount of data now makes keyword search a long process of typing up to four of five keywords. Conversational search has now become an integral part of Google’s hummingbird algorithm.
Another threat to Google is the increasing number of mobile users, with Apple dominating the market. Another worry for Google is the threat of Apple developing Siri Search, which would topple Google’s place as Apple’s default search engine on iPhone and iPad. All in all, it looks like Google shouldn’t rest on their laurels quite yet…