Google (GOOG) controls 67% of the search engine market in the U.S. and nearly 90% of market in the U.K. The former underdog defied odds by trying to alter the shape of the Internet just 15 years ago. It is now the most visited Web site in the nation.
Daniel Franklin, editor of The Economist’s World in 2013, says when companies are at the top of their game they need to become extra vigilant.
"That’s when technology companies need to be worried because there’s always the next start-up that comes along and challenges their preeminence," he notes in the attached clip.
“Google could find that people are worried about privacy issues,” he adds. "They’re worried about the tracking issue.”
Google has been subject to investigations by various authorities based on its invasion of user privacy. France’s data-protection authority is currently investigating Google, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the company nearly $23 million for tracking Safari users. The European Union is drafting new data protection legislation and the U.K. is responding by introducing a communications bill that limits data-mining power.
New search companies are seeing an opening in the market and are quickly establishing relationships with Web users. Search engine Duck Duck Go promises not to track any of its users and doesn’t employ cookies. The company's search queries have more than tripled in the past year but its interface is eerily similar to Google’s; the site even has an “I’m feeling ducky” button.
Google will have to juggle an increasing number of investigations and regulations against its data policy in 2013 as well as monitor new search engines seeking to steal market share. But just how serious are these threats?
“I’m not saying Google will find itself vulnerable,” says Franklin, “but these things can change very fast so Google has to be concerned and they will be watching all these things very closely I imagine.”
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