A historic transition of user activity from desktop to mobile is underway. As a result, Google, the company that defined search on the desktop, is faced with a major challenge to its dominance – a challenge that the search giant may be poised to turn into an enormous opportunity.
According to Nielsen, 85 percent of mobile activity is conducted within apps, not on the mobile web where search still rules.
How can Google gain the attention of users in this fragmented mobile universe? If the browser is no longer the front door to the Internet, will the company be able to maintain its longstanding position as organizer of the world’s information – and as a generator of massive ad revenues?
In this Insight Paper, BIA/Kelsey explores Google’s multipronged strategy to ensure it can remain competitive in the mobile era, from innovative products like Google Now to initiatives that link content between apps and efforts to improve the search experience on the mobile web. The report also assesses the potential impacts of the symbolic “four horsemen” of technology that dominate the main competitive areas defining the industry—Apple (hardware), Amazon (e-commerce), Facebook (social) and Google (search).
The existence of trillions of web pages compelled the creation of Google’s advanced index and its friendly entry point that made all that information and knowledge accessible. But the app-heavy mobile environment — already siloed into neat little packages — doesn’t beg for a search engine. This is worrisome for Google, whose biggest and most under-recognized challenge will be migrating its dominance into a digital world that has alternate entry points.
Why You Should Read ‘Mobile Local Discovery: The Next Era of Search’
Google is working hard as we speak to help define the user experience on mobile devices in the next decade, in order both to defend its $50 billion search business and to increase its share of the $2 trillion in offline commerce that is influenced by mobile.
Unwilling to back just one horse, Google is hedging its bets, pouring energy into an improved mobile web as evidenced by this year’s Mobilegeddon, while at the same time launching initiatives like deep linking and Google Now that strive to bring the same level of interconnectedness to mobile that Google established years ago on the desktop.
What Google does matters to the rest of the mobile/local ecosystem. Advertisers, app developers, marketers, content publishers and local businesses all need to pay attention to the company’s emerging model, defined in large part by a switch from desktop search to mobile discovery.