Google's Search Market Share Falls to Lowest Level In Years
Google is the undisputed king of search. According to the latest numbers from Statcounter, Google had 75.2 percent of the search engine market share in December of 2014. However, while that number is indicative of Google's domination, it's actually a significant decrease from the prior month (77.3 percent) and from December of 2013 (79.3 percent). Google's market share hasn't been this low since 2008.
So what happened? Well, most experts point to the fact that Mozilla changed it's default search engine in Firefox to Yahoo last month. Indeed, Yahoo saw a nearly two percent gain.
Users Not Changing the Default?
Only time will tell if users are actually beginning to prefer Yahoo and Bing to Google. It's possible that many Firefox users just simply haven't taken the time to change their default search engine back to Google. Of course, failing to change the default really could mean that those users prefer Yahoo; however, research has shown that the vast majority of technology users - an estimated 95 percent - never change any default settings on their various devices. Taken to an extreme, this statistic could indicate that typical internet users don't actually care all that much or see much difference between different search engines. As long as a company can get in a browser as a default, they stand a fairly good chance of snatching some of Google's search market share.
If this is the case, there could be more bad news for Google in the future. It's thought that Apple might be dropping Google in its Safari browser. This could mean that mobile traffic - one of the main ways most of the world accesses the internet - could go significantly down. It's thought that either Yahoo or Bing would take its place, but rumors abound that Apple may be developing a search engine of its own.
Google Still A Giant
With all that said, Google's not going anywhere. Having well over two thirds of the search market share is still huge. Some might even argue that search market share might become increasingly irrelevant as more and more people go straight to apps to get what they need. Also, nobody can question the dominance of Google as a company - their various services continue to grow and become more popular. Just this week, Google has broke new ground with their translation app and saw their Google Domains program launch.
As far as marketers are concerned, there's absolutely no reason to pay less attention to Google. Indeed, many Firefox users might end up switching back to Google as a default in the coming weeks if they're unhappy with Yahoo. If not, however, it does mean that Yahoo, Bing and even smaller engines like DuckDuckGo should not be ignored.