The European Parliament is promoting the idea of having to breakup Google in order to ensure fair competition. While there does not seem to be any agreement over these plans – that partially are being pushed by lobbyists of German media companies – this might be a topic of ongoing debate for the near future.
With a search market share of more than 90 percent in Germany and other European markets as well as lots of other strong services, Google for sure looks quite dominating in many areas of the digital industry. And yet, looking closer, one realizes that the number of challenges for the Internet giant has never been greater. By focusing on the bigger picture, radical regulatory moves appear rather unnecessary. At least in this specific case, the market might fix the issue.
> The Internet is going mobile, PCs are – at best – being turned into second screens. The smartphone is the place where the action happens. And there, people mainly use apps, not websites. Also search behaviour changes. Many specific searches increasingly happen inside apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Spotify or Netflix – not through Google. Furthermore, on small screens, there is less space to show ads. Traditionally Google generates most of its revenue with ads next to its search engine and on other websites. This shift weakens Google and strengthens others, such as Facebook
> Related to these changes, native ads are how many social media platforms and media companies generate revenue. As Ben Thompson explains, this is a segment where Google has hardly anything to offer.
> Smartphone messengers are the big thing within the social media sphere. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat, Line – none of the major global players belongs to Google. Here again, Google missed the boat.
> Firefox, still one of the leading browsers, changes its default search engine from Google to Yahoo.
> Since the Snowden revelations, more people are trying to use online services that protect their privacy and data. The alternative search engine DuckDuckGo benefits from that and beats Google at its weakest point
> Google Glass is not developing so well.
> Google+ neither (compared to its ambitions).
> Android One, the Android version for developing countries, does not catch on as planned.
> Google’s self driving cars might never really happen as mass market product, and flying could be the better option anyway. Another potential money-waster for Google (that, to be fair, has a lot of money to waste)
> Google probably will be kicked out of iOS as default search by next year.
> For private communication, especially among younger generations, email is losing all its previous importance, as a representative German survey showed. No good news for Gmail.
> When Google Maps was kicked out of iOS, it lost millions of users. Meanwhile, OpenStreetMap is turning into a serious contender.
> Under its new CEO, Microsoft is back and has made some interesting moves lately, such as buying Mojang/Minecraft, releasing free Office for iOS, getting cozy with Dropbox. Hard to say if the company really will manage a comeback among end consumers, but it definitely will try. This means new competition for Google. And lets not forget Apple, Amazon and Facebook, that all invest heavily to enter new markets.
> On a private movie screening event with Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley leaders Google co-founder Sergey Brin wore Crocs.
So really. It does not seem as if there is a risk of Google not being challenged properly in its core markets.
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