Why A Search Engine Googopoly Is Bad For The Internet

Google has been the number one search engine for many years with Yahoo! and the rest, not trailing behind, but languishing. Because of Google’s dominance, search engine optimisation has centred around the algorithms that go into Google’s organic search rankings. To a degree, this has made life easier – it has also made life more difficult.

Because Google is so far in front, spammers concentrate on its search rankings. Every now and then, Google makes a change to its algorithm, perhaps decides to penalise certain habits (like paid links several years ago) or to boost other areas (such as social media). Now that’s fine except that often the little players get caught in the cross fire and suddenly find their hard work coming undone.

There is talk that Yahoo! is on its last legs. It seems to me it has been ‘on its last legs’ for many years now. Perhaps Bing can finally kill it off. The end result will not be a better internet – if anything, it will become poorer – not because of Yahoo! disappearing, but because of the lack of competition.

If we had four or five strong search engines, the competition would be much better. More importantly, spammers would have a tougher time. Five strong search engines means five different sets of algorithms. I am not sure that spammers would have such an easy time. An even bigger issue are the search results themselves.

I am not sure if many searchers have noticed the changes creeping into the search results these days. I have mentioned it before; if you actually look at search results, they are becoming compartmentalised. You have image results grouped together, likewise video, news, products and local business (local search). What’s next? Will blogs be removed from organic search and get a little compartment of their own? Commerce, articles; where does it stop? Search results will become a page of compartments each dedicated to a particular segment.

That could be good for the user, it may be good for some sectors of the web, but I am not sure it is going to be good for the web as whole. Competition has proven to be the best innovator and the only way to provide a quality service. Monopolies rarely have the interests of anyone except the self – and Google is becoming a large Googopoly. What are your thoughts – is a single all powerful search engine good for the internet?

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