Competition is healthy, it keeps people and companies on their toes, and without it there would be nothing new and innovative in the world. The same theory applies to search, and despite what many people in the industry think, search is not going anywhere. In fact, it`s still in its infancy and has yet to reach its full potential. It`s all very exciting!
The other day, I read a blog post on Tech Crunch where Michael Arrington discussed why he thought that search innovation had just began, and how wrong Mr O`Reilly was when he stated that eventually all the search engines would just give up on search and outsource to Google.
O`Reilly reckons that Microsoft is merely competing in search and reinventing itself as an advertising company, as an attempt to regain its position as the top dog. If Microsoft lost its way after accomplishing the main goal of getting “a computer on every desk and in every home” , it appears as though their only goal now is to stay on top of the heap. They`re determined to achieve this by using whatever means necessary, and if search is where it`s at, search is what they will fight for.
So, going back to the argument, O`Reilly reckons that search should be left to Google, so that they can take the crown as the king of search and monopolise the industry completely. But where would that leave competition, and what would happen to Google and the industry as a whole if all the other players in search just packed up and left?
It sounds like a disaster to me. I completely agree with Arrington that innovation in search has just begun; there are several avenues that have yet to be explored. Things are just kicking off, and through trial and error, are improving on an hourly basis. Innovation and reinvention cannot happen without competition, competition is healthy especially in such a rapidly changing industry.
Search is the starting point for all interaction on the internet. Commercially, 68% of all online purchases start with search. Online advertising generates a massive bulk of the revenue and it`s growing at an extremely rapid pace.
If there was only one player in search, innovation would decline, which would affect the entire cycle. Innovation would slow down and there would be limited revenue going out to the organisations that are adding value to the system. Innovation is key, it benefits all parties involved, so the more big players the better.
With Microsoft and Yahoo focusing on innovation in search, Google will have to stay on its toes to stay ahead of the game. All of which serves to keep the industry alive and dynamic. When you delve into the publishing side of things, you will notice that Google doesn`t share enough revenue with the content sites that show their ads. This leaves the gap for Yahoo and Microsoft to compete for this space and forces Google into a defensive position. Remove Microsoft and Yahoo`s interaction and you have a very poor model.
At the end of the day, the other big boys can`t ignore the impact that search has had on the internet or how lucrative online advertising is and will continue to be. Competition is essential to the survival of search. It`s critical that all players stay in the game or else we will have a monopoly, which will eventually kill innovation, and may just lead to the death of a fantastic and exciting industry!