Google is currently the leading search engine for consumer queries, but does the company have an unfair edge? A recent study from Consumer Watchdog’s Inside Google suggests the search engine giant may be limiting consumer choice, and marketers may be interested to know that their go-to site could soon be hit with some antitrust laws.
The study, entitled Traffic Report: How Google is Squeezing Out Competitors and Muscling Into New Markets, reveals that Google’s dominance has been rising at the expense of competitors since it unveiled its "Universal Search" in 2007. Search Engine Land explains this system blends listings from news, video, image and other search engines among those Google collects by crawling web pages.
According to the study, "Universal Search now populates the top of the results page mainly with results from Google’s own product lines. These changes bring the search giant several steps closer to a closed ecosystem where real consumer choice no longer exists."
The full report is being given to the U.S. Justice Department and European Commission antitrust officials for review. They could have the power to dramatically change Google’s search system.
Nonetheless, Google still dominates the search market. A recent report from HitWise shows that Google accounted for 71.4 percent of all U.S. searches at the start of May. Marketers may also be interested to know that Microsoft’s influence in the search engine market is steadily increasing – Bing accounted for 9.43 percent of U.S. searches in April 2010.