Everyone knows Google. But there is a world beyond Google. Think about Baidu, Naver, or Bing: these search engines have become as big as Google in some countries.
Specialized search engines have emerged as major alternatives to Google – being either more powerful or convenient than Google in some situations:
Let’s also not forget to mention You.com, Neeva, Ecosia, and other startups that have emerged over the last decade, as serious alternatives to Google.
Are we witnessing the downfall of the almighty Google? Let’s review how these new players are competing with Google, by analyzing search engine market trends in major countries.
Which search engine is the best Google competitor?
With a 92% worldwide market share, Google is widely dominating the global market.
However, there are some big differences in some countries – revealing that Google is not always the giant we believe it is.
There is no doubt about Google’s domination in the US: the tech giant is holding 87% of market shares in America.
But we must notice the good performance of Bing. The Microsoft search engine solution is still holding 7% of market shares – pushed by the absence of regulation helping Bing to be promoted from other Microsoft products like Windows or Edge.
No wonder Bing is way less used on a smartphone. For mobile devices, Bing’s market share is only 1%…
Accused of abusing its dominant position, Google has been forced to pay $4.3 billion to Europe because of the way the firm uses its Android operating system to promote its search engine and Chrome browser.
The Californian firm was then forced to modify its agreements with manufacturers and to give more chances to applications competing with Chrome and Google Search.
In 2019, Google introduced a feature that informs Android users about alternatives to Google Search and Chrome that are available in the Play Store.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed and Google is still very dominant with 95%+ market share in EU – pushed by a large usage of its applications like Google Maps.
Hopefully, a few startups try to promote European search technology:
Naver was launched in South Korea in 1999 and became quickly the most used search engine, the software fit more with their language and their cultural queries, and some features of Naver very adapted to Korean transport are not at all present on Google.
But over the last few years, globalization has driven Koreans to search for Western products – leading Google to gain market shares year after year.
Nowadays, Naver is struggling to keep its monopole in South Korea. Despite multiple legal acts that have been pushed by the Korean government to comfort Naver’s historical advantage, such as denying Koreans access to Google Maps.
Google has been banned from China in 2010.
After many attempts to avoid Chinese government restrictions, Google decided to shut down its search service in mainland China – another way of saying it was banned for geopolitical reasons.
As a consequence, Baidu took advantage of that geopolitical decision. Launched in 2000, Baidu now monopolizes the Chinese market.
Though it is now challenged by Sogou, another local company now holding 12% of search engine market shares.
Do you remember Yahoo? It used to be one of the biggest search engines & Web portals in the 2000s. Yahoo still exists, but its search engine is now powered by … Bing!
Yahoo is still big in Japan with 15% of the market share. Combined with 8% of the market shares for Bing, Microsoft technology is now serving requests to almost one-quarter of the Japanese population.
Yandex is a search engine specifically designed for Russian speakers. Founded in 1998, the firm is also the company with the highest market value in Russia. Its search engine is used by 47% of Russians.
In 2021, Google took the lead over Yandex. The globalization of content has progressively pushed Russian users to change their usual behavior.
Amazon is the first marketplace in the world and the 6th most visited website worldwide. All the queries on Amazon give precious clues about purchase behavior and consumers’ desires.
Amazon has a 54% of market share considering product searches, the first ahead of Google. In other words, Amazon is the most popular eCommerce marketplace platform.
Amazon uses its search engine: A9. Given Amazon’s traffic saturation and the millions of references, it might appear impossible to stand over the crowd. To stay competitive on Amazon, it is key to understand precisely how the A9 engine’s algorithms work. A9 is mainly based on two key numbers: the number of consumer reviews and the number of sales on results pages.
You might that the search engine industry is blocked by the massive monopole of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon – or even Baidu.
Yet, new competitors have emerged over the last years by being massively funded:
The main reasons to fund Google Search alternatives are privacy issues related to private data collection proceeded by Google – to improve its ad targeting capabilities.
Alternatives like Neeva are offering specific features or presenting better moral policies.
These search engines are not yet competing with Google, with less than 1% global market share. But they are definitely companies to watch, as more and more Web users could be seduced by their offering.
Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are also becoming serious Google competitors, especially among Gen-Z consumers – with their rich content features like interactive maps or reels.
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