24-hour match: 2x your gift’s impact today! Double my donation

After FTC win, can Google keep up search success?

Dan Bobkoff Jan 4, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

After FTC win, can Google keep up search success?

Dan Bobkoff Jan 4, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

It was a good day for Google Thursday as the Federal Trade Commission said the search engine giant is not being anticompetitive when it promotes its own services in search results. We won’t be seeing a repeat of the Microsoft antitrust case of the 1990s.

With this win behind it, what’s Google afraid of next? Its search engine market share is approaching 70 percent in the U.S. Still, it keeps trying to expand into other businesses, and yet:

“Everything other than search that they have tried has essentially failed,” says James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.

And, that is a risk for Google. McQuivey says the company could find itself shut out of the next big thing. Its social network Google Plus hasn’t taken off and its foray into TV has been a bust.

And, even though Google rules search today, it’s not that hard for users to switch.

“So, you think to yourself, wow, I love Google, then you think to yourself, if I try another search engine, does that really affect my life too much?” says Whit Andrews, an analyst at technology research firm Gartner.

It’s much easier to change search engines than to switch computer operating system or social networks.

That’s where new competition comes in. If products like Apple’s voice-search service called Siri catch on, Google could find its dominance waning.

“The potential for something like Siri is tremendous if people perceive it to be something better than Google,” Andrews says.

And, even though the FTC has mostly given Google the all-clear, that doesn’t mean its out of the legal woods yet. Europe’s regulators are still keeping their watch on Google’s business practices.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.

Don’t miss this match!

Donate today and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the American Public Media Board.