Google has been hit with three antitrust lawsuits in under two months. They allege the tech giant engages in a variety of anti-competitive behavior through its search product and digital advertising.
Google’s dominant digital influence enables it to not only illegally monitor and leverage users’ behavior for ad sales but also kneecaps competition to reap billions in profits, says New York Attorney General Letitia James:
Google sits at the crossroads of so many areas of our digital economy and has used its dominance to illegally squash competitors, monitor nearly every aspect of our digital lives, and profit to the tune of billions.
To say that Google is the global search and digital ad leader would be an understatement. As of July 2020, Google enjoyed an 86.86 percent market share and posted one of the highest tech revenues in 2019 with $160.74 billion.
While Google’s dominion has been long and thorough, there are promising insurgents of search that aim to disrupt the marketplace as we know it.
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DuckDuckGo is arguably the most prominent alternative search option that isn’t owned by a tech giant.
While it accounts for only about 2.3 percent market share as of November 2020, it’s gained in popularity thanks to its privacy options that block Google’s and other companies’ trackers, thus keeping your browsing history more private.
Most recently, former Salesforce chief scientist Richard Socher announced he plans to launch a new consumer search tool called You.
Socher, who helped build out Salesforce’s artificial intelligence platform Einstein, claims You not only will “prioritize real results over paid content and ads” but also offers a private search option. In either case, You said it will never sell your data to advertisers or follow you around the rest of the internet.
Search Encrypt is another privacy-focused tool that provides end-to-end encryption on your searches.
Your searches are locally encrypted, then sent to Search Encrypt’s servers. Thus, your personal info isn’t connected to your searches.
For those that prefer Google’s search results but don’t want their data packaged and sold, Startpage incorporates Google results without collecting user data that are sold to third parties. It also offers a nifty proxy service that conceals your personal info and IP address.
Regardless of how Google’s antitrust suits or of other upstarts’ success, they carry significant implications for the future of how founders do business and attract visitors. Search engine optimization is the most important practice to garner traffic for most websites, which means we should all be keeping an eye on the search marketplace.
What are your favorite search alternatives? And how much Schadenfreude are you experiencing with Google’s lawsuits? I’d love to hear your thoughts!