Competition

Latest competition posts from the blog

As Google has grown, we’ve not surprisingly faced more questions about our approach to competition. This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory when you are 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.

We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users’ interests first and to compete fair and square in the market. We believe our business practices reflect those commitments.

We help other businesses be more competitive

We don’t see competition as a zero-sum game. Our tools – like AdWords, AdSense, and Google Apps – help small and large businesses use their own resources more efficiently, which allow them to be leaner, stronger competitors in whatever space they’re in.

Competition is one click away – and we make it easy to switch

If our users don’t like what we’re doing, they can easily switch to a competitor with just one click. We think users should be able to move their personal data to competing services, and we take measures to earn our users’ loyalty by building good products and continually improving them, not by locking in users artificially.

Our Data Liberation Front engineering team works to make it easy for users to move their data in and out of Google products. For example, if you use Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail and want to export your mail to another service, you can remove your data using POP, but you have to pay a fee. In contrast, Gmail allows you to export your data using either POP or IMAP without any charges, and we allow users to export via common standards in most of our products as well.

Open is better than closed

In the technology debate between open systems and closed, proprietary standards, Google comes down on the side of openness. Open source and open standards encourage competition and innovation by making source code available to outside developers and encouraging others to improve on it.

Through code.google.com, we’ve opened more than one million lines of code and more than 100 software projects, and we currently host more than 170,000 open source projects developed by non-Googlers. In addition, Chrome and Android (both open source products) have helped revive competition and innovation in the relatively stagnant browser and mobile OS space, respectively.

Our ad pricing model combines the market with relevance for users

Compared to other forms of advertising, our auction-based pricing model is unique, and ensures that advertisers only pay for an ad what they’re willing to. In addition, ad quality scores help reflect user interests and prevent us from showing spammy or irrelevant ads, and “first page” bid estimates provide advertisers with guidance as to what they’ll need to bid for their ad to appear on the first page.

Advertisers have many choices in a dynamic market

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.