How Google Has Dominated Online Communications
Google has something every other tech giant from Apple and Amazon to Samsung and Sony can only dream of. A word in the dictionary.
You know the one. It’s a very familiar verb. Everyone knows what, to google, means. People even use “google” when they are using other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. Google dominates on every front; including language usage.
It’s similar to calling tissues “Kleenex’s,” or oral analgesics “Aspirins.” These are powerful brand references, but even these pale beside google’s accomplishment. Google’s brand is a verb. And, everyone I know uses it regularly.
When you want to know something, what do you do? You google it. Perhaps more than anything else, including its almost $400 billion market cap, its ~$550 share price, and its almost 12 billion monthly searches, this fact alone demonstrates the dominance of the Google brand in the online experience.
But, just how big is Google on the web? In August of 2013, when Google experienced a five minute outage, global web traffic plunged 40%. By any standard, that’s massive.
But, google as a verb that universally means “search the internet,” is just the beginning. Certainly, search is where Google got its start, and search remains the core of its business, but unless you've been living under a bridge you probably know it has not stopped there.
News, Weather, and Sports
Everyone talks about these subjects sometime during a day, and chances are, Google has been instrumental in providing the information that shows up in these conversations.
Your local six-o’clock news channel probably gets a lot of its information right off the web using a browser and a search engine supplied by Google.
The same goes for any local newspapers still surviving today. Ironically, the questionable futures of the television and newspaper industries is largely due to Google.
Google adwords and Craigslist pretty much destroyed the core revenue stream for newspapers. In April of 2014, two major milestones for online video were passed, and, as you might have guessed, Google was right in the thick of things.
Thanks substantially to Google-owned Youtube, consumers spent more time watching video on their mobile devices than on their desktop and laptop devices.
That same month, consumers, for the first time ever, spent more time with their smartphone than with television. Again, Google with its Android operating system, was right there in the thick of things.
Google is not a primary newsvendor like the Associated Press or the BBC. It is not a news aggregator like the Huffington Post or Business Insider. But it still manages to be one of the front-line news sources because it indexes everyone else.
Want to know the weather forecast for your town? You don’t have to wait until the evening news. You've probably got an app for that, but if not, just type “local weather” into your browser’s search field and Google will return the weather forecast for the locality in which the gateway for your network is located along with about 50 million other references in less than half a second.
The same goes for sports. If you want highlights of your favorite team, there’s no need to wait for the evening news or tomorrow’s newspaper. Google will find them for you. All you have to do is… well, you know what to do.
It’s no wonder newspaper and television companies are scrambling in their search for new business models.
“Take no prisoners,” is a phrase that has been associated with Google’s aggressive pursuit of domination of the vertical markets it has chosen to enter.
The smartphone market is no exception:
Apple’s first-mover advantage and almost 100% market share advantage was eroded to less than 50% in under two years when Google decided to enter the smartphone market with its Android operating system.
Of course, Google was assisted by industry giants like Samsung and others, but that’s just the point. Because of it’s status online, Google was able to leverage those relationships to its advantage. The Android operating system is now running more phones than any other operating system in the world.
No End in Sight
Unless something totally disruptive comes along that Google can’t buy before one of the other tech giants does, Google is poised to dominate online communications for years to come. This is because they have taken such a practical approach to their product line.
Google knows people need information to make decisions. Where do they go? Google search. After gathering information and making a decision, it’s time to take action. Perhaps a purchase. Open your Google Wallet without having to log into another system. Or, you may want to let other people know about what you have discovered, what your are going to do or what you purchased.
Google+ may not be Facebook, but what many people don’t realize is that G+ is second in size to Facebook with over 500 million users to Facebook’s 1+ billion.
Or, if you want to write about your experience, do a spreadsheet analysis, submit an expense report or collaborate with a co-worker, you’ve got access to Google Docs. Without having to log into another system. All right there in your browser. Which, incidentally, is likely provided by Google since Google Chrome consistently outstrips all the other browsers in the market combined.
Place Your Bets
If you have to bet on who will be dominating online communications for the next several years, bet on The Dominator. To be sure, there are challengers to Google, but not only do they not have the extensive product line that Google has, they have an even more significant disadvantage. So far, none of them have chosen names that can become verbs.