Competing for the Search Space’

In a recent article published in the Financial Review, Joshua Gliddon reports that Google’s search engine competitors are maneuvering in to gain a footing in the on-line search and directory space. However, are they making any ground on Google in terms of search engine power and know how?

The claim that competitor Ninemsn will gain a foothold in Australia because the new Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 comes with default settings which open the Microsoft Live Search site may have some relevance1. However, one wonders how many people bother to set their default page to a search site.

On the other hand, having the Windows Live toolbar available in the Internet Explorer 7 toolbar area does perhaps provide a very quick route to search results for the busy person with a non-search engine default page – or for someone who has browsed off the ‘bundled’ default setting before deciding to search.

Google also offers a toolbar, which is very well appointed. So perhaps the search engine provider that gets their toolbar in place first will prevail. However, perhaps all are losing sight of the wood for the trees. Isn’t it supposed to be the power and smarts of the search engine technology to provide the best and most appropriate result set that matters?

With on-line technology, as with appliances and most other tools that people use, perhaps it is those that work for the individual most comfortably and effectively are likely to be chosen. Google doesn’t just have market share, it has search technology prowess.

The observation by one industry leader that a further market opportunity is provided by the fact that 40% of Australians don’t have an internet connection, may not really be cause for excitement. It is possible that a fair proportion of those people without an internet connection may never be interested in having one.

Until broadband services become cost effective enough for everyone in our society, there may be little chance of enticing even a small proportion of those ‘off-line’.

References and Further Reading

1. The Australian Financial Review - Joshua Gliddon March 2007