Since its launch in the mid 90s, Google has cemented its place in the world as the most used search engine. Many websites report 80-90% of their traffic as coming from Google, and lesser search engine such as Yahoo and Bing can only stare up at Google from a great distance, so why is Google so successful?
Let’s look at the possibilities:
Yes, Google has a great brand. Its name is so synonymous with search that ‘Google’ is now a verb; to Google – meaning to look something up. Its logo is world famous and there’s probably not a person in the educated world who hasn’t heard of Google.
But brand isn’t the reason. The brand would never have existed had Google not been able to back it up. It must be something else.
Features and products
Google certainly does like to expand into new products, such as docs, video, email, mapping software, browsers and even a new OS – however, without prior success in search, Google would not have been able to do this. It must be something else.
Lack of competition
Well this can’t be it surely? Yahoo and Microsoft have thrown billions at their search engines, and now they’ve even joined up. There are millions of different search engines on the Internet, some of which used to be quite successful (Lycos for example) – so this can’t be it. It must be something else.
Ah… now I think we have it. When you enter a search term on Google, incredibly, you get results that match that term and answer your query. When you enter a search term on Yahoo or Bing, you don’t necessarily. Yahoo has long since stopped being a search engine in favour of reverting into an early 21st century portal, and Bing is, well, another random Microsoft search engine.
Even the former competition, such as Lycos, would fill their search results with adverts so you didn’t know what was a genuine result and what was an advert. Google took the unique step of putting the user first and giving them what they wanted, regardless of whether that was at Google’s expense or not.
This ensured Google became the ONLY search engine to use.