It comes as no surprise to hear that Google is still king when it comes to online search. According to the consulting firm Define Media Group, Google accounted for 93% of online and mobile web search traffic worldwide between January and December of 2014.
In the US market, however, Google saw significant dips in its market share over the past two months of 2014. According to StatCounter, Google’s US market share dropped from 79.3% to 75.2% at the end of 2014. The reason? Mozilla’s Firefox, which had been using Google as its default search engine, signed a five-year deal with Yahoo in November of 2014.
Not surprisingly, Google’s loss is Yahoo’s gain, with their market share up from 7.4% to 10.4%. With this shift, Bloomberg.com is reporting that Google now holds its lowest market share since 2009.
What’s interesting is that there are other reports that suggest Google’s market share in mobile search is increasing in the US. Media agency Merkle recently claimed that Google’s mobile market share is continuing to grow, reaching nearly 86% in Q3. This is actually not surprising, given that Google is the default search engine for both iPhones and Androids.
Google is now facing the possibility that Apple may dump Google as the default search engine on their Safari browser. Google’s partnership deal with Safari ends this year and many are anxious to see if Apple renews, replaces Google with one of their competitors, or develops their own search engine.
In the meantime, Google is seeing is stock value slide. Since the start of 2015 GOOGL has lost 6.9%, and 19.1% since reaching an all-time high of $610.68 on February 28, 2014.
Should Google be concerned by these negatives? Not really. Google makes its money off of search advertising and there’s no reason to think that advertisers will suddenly switch allegiances. In fact, Mark Ballard of the Rimm-Kaufman Group noted that Firefox’s share of total paid search traffic has declined since December. This appears to negate at least some of the advantage Yahoo gained by partnering with Firefox.
If Apple decides to part ways with Google this year then I think Google can start to worry, but for now, Google can use this negative news to their advantage, to help ward of the antitrust critics.