When you read the word “Google,” the first thing you probably thought of was search. Looking at Google accounts for around 70 % of all web searches in the world (or about 85% of the English-speaking world), and has done for a decade, that’s not a big surprise.
Google’s search engine is so renowned and ubiquitous that it’s one of only a few brands that has slipped from protected, trademarked usage into the common vernacular. It is not unusual to google instead of search for something (even if you’re using Yahoo or Bing!), much in the same way that you use a thermos or tear off some cellophane (both of which used to be capitalized trademarks).
You know that Google has other products like Maps, Google+, or Blogger, but they are not important compared to Search. You might argue that Gmail and Android are important products but to be honest, even in the case of Android’s hundreds of millions of users, it’s not like anything much would happen if Google ceased development — its open-source nature means anyone (Samsung, Microsoft, etc.) could pick it up and run with it.
We can’t imagine the world without Google Search. There are alternatives such as Bing, Yahoo and Baidu in China, however they are not quite usable and we cannot depend on them entirely compared to Google Search. Google Search is a fundamental part of the Internet. Without it, entire web would be of no use, and without Google Search the society would change dramatically.
It is a little bit scary that one service has so much significance. The phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” comes to mind. Having a single point of failure, especially when the service is as important as Google Search, is never a good idea. In much the same way that we have multiple water reservoirs, power stations, hospitals, and schools, we really shouldn’t have just one viable search engine. Google could turn Search off tomorrow, if it really wanted to.
Search is an important part of your life, without Search, Google would have to fire the majority of employees. As of the end of 2013, 91% of Google’s income came from paid ads on search results. Then remaining 9% comes from a different sources but mostly Google Apps (Google’s enterprise version of Gmail and Docs/Drive). To derive 91% of your revenue from a single source is incredibly dangerous. The search company needs to do something, and quick.
What do you think?