The Increasingly Flanked Google

The Increasingly Flanked Google

Two things:

  1. Amazon is estimated to have 90 million Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States. Many families share accounts. If you do the numbers hard enough, Amazon Prime may be covering more than 70% of American households. These are people who HAD paid for the privilege to shop on Amazon. As that happens, it is evident that “commerce search” has moved from Google to Amazon, because no one has Prime Membership and wastes time on Google, when you are certain Amazon will be cheaper, and you will buy from there. That is why companies like Sony, Panasonic and others are spending big money on Amazon because the people buying are there. Of course, Google remains the king of search with news and others; but I want you to remove ‘commerce search” from the categories.

This statistic shows the number of paying Amazon Prime members in the United States as of September 2017. As of the last measured period, the source estimated 90 million Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States, up from 63 million in June during the previous year.

  1. Facebook has taken over the event search as searches for events continue to move to Facebook where they are promoted. The open, un-signed Internet which Google feeds on is increasing under-siege by Facebook. As more entities move their activities and promotions to Facebook, eliminating the need for event-only websites, Google will lose the capacity to be relevant on showing these events. This explains why Google has to fight. It has played nice for long, but not anymore. Here, it wanted to put Chrome in Microsoft Windows Store; of course, Microsoft took it down. Chrome is going to be fundamental, just as Android has been. But the operating system may not change much in the big ecosystems like Facebook and Amazon.

Google published a Chrome app in the Windows Store earlier today, which just directed users to a download link to install the browser. Microsoft isn’t impressed with Google’s obvious snub of the Windows Store, and it’s taking action. “We have removed the Google Chrome Installer App from Microsoft Store, as it violates our Microsoft Store policies,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

All Together

The business of the open web search is increasingly challenged as wall-gardens emerge. Facebook has taken its billions of people with it, locking Google out of the game. LinkedIn would have done a similar thing, but is happy because Google pays to have access to its open data. But where it matters like Amazon and Facebook, those entities do not need any help. The business model of asking Google to pay LinkedIn works for LinkedIn because it needs that extra money, and the risk is minimal. If you Google anyone that is not a celebrity, there is a likelihood that the person’s LinkedIn page will show top on Google. Google wants to make search relevant but that does not mean it controls what happens in the next step.

Google remains the king of search but it is very clear that if it does not arrest these situations, it may not be hosting the most relevant searches. Google understands that and is doing all necessary to fight for its future. The escalation with Amazon and Microsoft are signs great wars await. These digital entities may become the breakers of the net neutrality principle, even as the world looks to telcos like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

My prediction is that YouTube could become a wall-garden requiring members to login before they can watch contents within years. That is the only way to return the fire to Amazon, Facebook and others that have their walled contents while feeding on Google’s. Google’s challenge is that its services are free for all to use, but its arch-rivals have walled their services. How it handles that will determine how it can feed on the cached open internet with its robots.


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