As Google continues to diversify their business portfolio with another venture into the mobile phone market, have they spread themselves too thin to remain the US market leader in search?
The Nielsen Company’s MegaView Search data showed Google dropping its market share from 66.1% in October 2009 to 65.4% in November 2009. Meanwhile, rising rival Bing jumped up from 9.7% in October to 10.7% in November. These numbers suggest that Bing is beginning to pick up some steam in the search market in the US and the primary service that they are gaining users from is Google.
Also, on the back burner for Bing is the deal with Yahoo!, where Bing will begin powering their search service within the next couple years. By adding Yahoo!’s marketing share of 15.3%, Bing would achieve a 26% market share in the US (based on November 2009).
Keep this in mind, an outlying search service that has been feeding off of Google for a number of years is Aol.. Aol. has recently spun-off from Time Warner and is now in the business of content creation (not search). But, what many people have not recognized is that the Yahoo!/Bing deal will, by default, move Aol. into the third slot for US search market. So, could this be the opportunity that Aol. needs to reignite their once independent search engine and move away from the “Enhanced by Google” label?
In my honest opinion, the search engine that potentially poses the biggest threat to Google’s dominance in the US is the Chinese search engine Baidu (which currently isn’t even present in the US). Baidu is the 4th most trafficked site in the world and is the “Google” of China when it comes to search. The Baidu index is not exclusive to Chinese websites, English language sites are being crawled and indexed. The uphill battle Baidu would face is gaining users in the US marketplace. However, that is only a matter of money. Microsoft was rumored to be spending $100M to get more users to Bing so Baidu has a chance because a company valued at $3B should have the funds available to make similar moves.
Take the poll below and let me know when you think Google will fall as the US search market leader (or leave a comment for extended opinions).