Supporting a Competitive Web
As Google has grown, we’ve faced more questions about our approach to competition. This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory when you’re a large company. However, we’ve always worked hard to ensure that our success is earned the right way – through technological innovation and great products, rather than by locking in our users or advertisers, or creating artificial barriers to entry.
Google serves more like a GPS on the Internet highway—not an onramp. It helps people get around, but it’s not necessary.
Google is a guide, not a gatekeeper
It takes a broadband connection to get onto the Internet, but consumers don’t need Google to access the web. Google serves more like a GPS on the Internet highway—not an on-ramp. It helps people get around, but it’s not necessary. If someone knows where he wants to go, he can navigate to those destinations directly, whether it’s Craigslist, the New York Times websites, or icanhascheezburger.com. But, if he doesn’t know where he’s going, he can use a “GPS” (a search engine like Google or Bing), a “map” (a list of links or portal like Yahoo’s directory), directions or recommendations from a friend (links from Twitter or Facebook friends), or even a mobile application version of the service (for example, the NY Times iPhone application). Search engines are popular and useful, but they’re just one of many ways to navigate the web.
The Internet was built on fundamentally open architecture. Anyone at home with a computer and a web connection can type in the address of a website and navigate straight to that site. Google is one click away from losing every customer. There are virtually no switching costs, and there are many other valuable web services competing for traffic. If someone wants to use a competing search engine all they need to do is type “www.yahoo.com” into a web browser.
Search advertising isn’t the only choice for advertisers. Though Google has been successful, Cowen & Company estimates that Google makes up only 3% of all advertising revenue (online plus offline) and 30% of online advertising revenue among owned and operated properties. And while search advertising is attractive to advertisers because of its relevance and measurability, smart advertisers are continuing to build multi-media ad campaigns, including search, display, TV, radio, print, and direct mail.
Businesses and other organizations’ decisions to advertise on Google search and our competitors focus on obtaining value, and advertising on one does not limit advertising on another. For example:
- Most of our advertisers also advertise on competing search engines
- More than 90% of Google’s 200 largest advertisers also advertise on Yahoo!
- 71% of the top 10,000 Google advertisers also advertise on Yahoo!
Google’s Commitment to Data Portability
We respect the choices consumers have and work hard everyday to earn and stay people’s preferred provider of online services. While other companies make it difficult to get data out of their services, often by charging a fee or making people jump through difficult and time-consuming technology hoops, we have an entire team dedicated solely to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. Google’s Data Liberation Front has helped to make Google an industry leader in data portability. You can learn more on our Data Liberation website and blog. When consumers have more choice that makes us all work harder to build great products and constantly improve them.
“Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google’s products. Our team’s goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.” – Google Data Liberation Front Mission Statement
Investing in Open Source and Open Standards
Google has invested heavily in open source software and supporting open standards, both of which help to foster a healthy web economy. When it comes to open source software, we are the largest open source contributor in the world. We’ve contributed to over 800 projects that total more than 20 million lines of code, with four projects (Chrome, Android, Chrome OS, and Google Web Toolkit) including over a million lines of code each. We effectively give away massive amounts of coding work so other developers can build on and improve on those projects. These activities not only ensure that others can help us build the best products, they also mean that new entrepreneurs can use our software as a base for their own products.
We build our developer products on open standards because interoperability is a critical element of user choice. You can read more about Google’s approach to openness on the web on our blog, on the Open Source Programs Office website, and on our open source blog.