What's Google's Future As the Supreme Search Engine

While Google Search may be the leading search engine globally, there several features and inventions which help it retain its position. Google Images, Google Maps, and News contribute heavily to make it popular among users

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By Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur India

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"Google it," the term used globally, singlehandedly reaffirms the Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded search engine's dominance in the market. Ever since its launch in 1997, Google's milestones of rejecting Yahoo's $3 billion deal, acquiring YouTube, launching the Chrome browser, and introducing Google Assistant has paved way for its ever growing trajectory and monopoly in the market. In a Statista report titled "Worldwide desktop market share of leading search engines from January 2015 to December 2022," Google Search (or Google) was named the "market leader". While it continues to dominate, the search engine giant has seen its market share reduce from 88.1 per cent as of January 2015 to 84.08 per cent as of December 2022.

Some other players in the segment include Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, YANDEX and DuckDuckGo, all collectively making up only 14-15 per cent of the usage as per the report. With new technologies cropping up rapidly and user concerns increasing over privacy and data breach, can one day, in a far future, Google really be replaced?

The giant and the play

While Google Search may be the leading search engine globally, there are several features and inventions which help it retain its position. Google Images, Google Maps and News contribute heavily to making it popular among users.

Google Search's technical infrastructure provides for the highest accuracy for a query by crawling through a million sets of data and websites in a matter of a few seconds. For better understanding, on searching for "Stephen King," YANDEX will provide you with top results out of 47,000 search results, Yahoo will provide out of 36,500,000 searches, and Google will provide out of 53,90,00,000 (in a matter of 0.64 seconds). Google's speed is 4-5X faster than its competitors and has a much more sophisticated algorithm.

The lopsided strategies

Statcounter in its report 'Mobile Search Engine Market Share Worldwide' stated that Google ranked first with 96.17 per cent penetration, while, rest accounted for a mere approximate 3-4 per cent.

One of the major reasons for an almost perfect stat is the pre-installing of Google Chrome on the majority of android phones. "Chrome is already installed on most Android devices, and can't be removed. You can turn it off so that it won't show on the list of apps on your device," states the Google Chrome Help. Reportedly, there are 2.8 billion active users of Android, which makes up 75 percent of the global market. Meanwhile, Chrome can be removed from your computers, iPhone and iPad.

Google's biggest monetization source is through advertisements. In 2020, Alphabet (the parent company to Google) earned 80 per cent of its revenue from Google Ads, worth $147 billion. Google is notoriously criticized for using and selling its user's data to provide more targeted marketing for ad-spending companies. Furthermore, it is held liable for jeopardizing its competitors but preferring its own product and service in listings. It is also criticized by users for shoving advertisements over authentic-accurate results. The company is facing three lawsuits pertaining to anti-competitive behavior. Previously, it defended a privacy lawsuit.

The competition

Bing has increased its market share (for desktop) from 4.53 per cent in January 2015 to 8.95 per cent in December 2022. The change might be small, but it's there. Furthermore, Microsoft is encouraging its users towards Microsoft Rewards, where "When you join Microsoft Rewards, you'll earn points just for using Bing. You can redeem points for free gift cards, games, movies, and more."

On December 1, 2022, OpenAI's co-founder Sam Altman tweeted that its ChatGPT, an AI-based chatbot in its nascent stage, was live to the public. What set tech apart was its ability to process natural language and respond in human like manner. Users can ask for information about a topic, get help with coding, and just have a casual conversation. ChatGPT's other USP was that it provided you with crisp information without advice and multiple results.

It has over 175 billion parameters and was trained over a massive amount of data and code. Some estimate it to be worth 570 GB. This quickly led it to be termed as a "Google Killer," but it's not. What compromises its information authenticity is the lack of sources, which can lead us to believe anything it throws at us. However, it is promising. And currently still underdevelopment. Currently, several Generative Pre-trained Transformer-based models or similar ones are sprouting up. NVIDIA and Microsoft's Megatron-Turing NLG is trained with 530 billion parameters. Developed by DeepMind, Chinchilla is built on 70 parameters but a much larger dataset; it is also touted to be a "GPT-3 Killer."

The future

Microsoft has announced its investment in ChatGPT's OpenAI and is considering powering Bing with it to compete with Google. However, Google takes its reputation seriously and hence, has a much bigger image to protect as compared to its competitors. Many people may think that LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) is the only natural language processor Google is working on. It's not. BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), PaLM, and GLaM are some of the language models underdevelopment. So, while ChatGPT may have sent a Code Red across Googleplex and Microsoft planning Bing's revival plans, Google knows it's the king. And it will continue to be one for a long time.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer

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