News > Google


Through the Google lens: Search trends April 24-30

Category: Google | May 1, 2015

This week was a sobering one on search and worldwide, as people looked for news out of Nepal and read up on the demonstrations in Baltimore. But as we welcome the month of May, searchers are also gearing up for a weekend of superheroes—in the ring, on the track and on the big screen.

All eyes on Nepal and Baltimore
People around the world came to Google for information about the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week. The 7.8 quake killed more than 6,000 people, triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and destroyed several historical sites, including Katmandu’s Durbar Square. As rescuers continue to look for survivors, searchers turned to Google for news about the relief efforts and to ask questions about how to help, including: “How do I volunteer in Nepal?” and “Where can I donate to Nepal?” See the scope of the world’s response to the tragedy in this visualization:

In the U.S., a crisis of a different kind erupted in Baltimore this week. Starting last Friday, people protested in the streets in response to the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died on April 19 while in police custody. As demonstrations intensified on Monday and Tuesday, officials imposed a curfew and called in the National Guard. Searchers around the country turned to Google with their questions about the events, including: “Why is there a curfew in Baltimore?”, “What is the National Guard?” and “What happened to Freddie Gray?” And we saw big spikes in searches for topics like martial law, Baltimore Sun, Mondawmin Mall and the Baltimore Orioles.

The Sport of Kings and the Sweet Science
Tomorrow, 20 racehorses will line up for the 141st Kentucky Derby, but oddsmakers are insisting this is really a two-horse race between heavy favorites American Pharoah and Dortmund. Search interest in horse racing spiked 4X in the last week, with the Derby appearing in Hot Trends three out of the last four days. People are also turning to search to gear up for the festivities: interest in dress hats has spiked, and searches for [mint juleps] have spiked 4X.

After American Pharoah and Dortmund’s battle for the roses, two other fierce opponents will go nose to nose: the hotly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas. The boxing match is being called the “fight of the century” with a reported $300 million at stake. As people get ready for the fighters to put their gloves on, they’re turning to search to answer questions like “Where can I watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?” and “How much will Mayweather make from the fight?” So far, Mayweather, who is undefeated, is winning the match in search—he’s being searched for more than Pacquiao in all U.S. states except Hawaii.

A cast of characters
The blockbuster “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron” has finally hit theaters, and people are turning to Google to find information about their favorite superheroes and where to see them in theaters. There were more than 500,000 searches for the movie on Thursday, and early box office estimates suggest that fans are putting their money where their searches are. Take a look at the top searched characters from the movie:

Tip of the week
Donning a hat for Derby Day tomorrow? Make sure you’ve got a southern beverage to match. Just ask Google, “how do I make a mint julep?” and you’ll get directions for how to mix up a winner.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [email debt forgiveness day]

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/VcoutprWplE/through-google-lens-search-trends-april.html

Protect your Google Account with Password Alert

Category: Google | Apr 29, 2015

Would you enter your email address and password on this page?

This looks like a fairly standard login page, but it’s not. It’s what we call a “phishing” page, a site run by people looking to receive and steal your password. If you type your password here, attackers could steal it and gain access to your Google Account—and you may not even know it. This is a common and dangerous trap: the most effective phishing attacks can succeed 45 percent of the time, nearly 2 percent of messages to Gmail are designed to trick people into giving up their passwords, and various services across the web send millions upon millions of phishing emails, every day.
To help keep your account safe, today we’re launching Password Alert, a free, open-source Chrome extension that protects your Google and Google Apps for Work Accounts. Once you’ve installed it, Password Alert will show you a warning if you type your Google password into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for different sites, a security best practice.
Here’s how it works for consumer accounts. Once you’ve installed and initialized Password Alert, Chrome will remember a “scrambled” version of your Google Account password. It only remembers this information for security purposes and doesn’t share it with anyone. If you type your password into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page, Password Alert will show you a notice like the one below. This alert will tell you that you’re at risk of being phished so you can update your password and protect yourself.
Password Alert is also available to Google for Work customers, including Google Apps and Drive for Work. Your administrator can install Password Alert for everyone in the domains they manage, and receive alerts when Password Alert detects a possible problem. This can help spot malicious attackers trying to break into employee accounts and also reduce password reuse. Administrators can find more information in the Help Center.
We work to protect users from phishing attacks in a variety of ways. We’re constantly improving our Safe Browsing technology, which protects more than 1 billion people on Chrome, Safari and Firefox from phishing and other dangerous sites via bright, red warnings. We also offer tools like 2-Step Verification and Security Key that people can use to protect their Google Accounts and stay safe online. And of course, you can also take a Security Checkup at any time to make sure the safety and security information associated with your account is current. 

To get started with Password Alert, visit the Chrome Web Store or the FAQ.

Posted by Drew Hintz, Security Engineer and Justin Kosslyn, Google Ideas

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/d3CvtJ5Qlp8/protect-your-google-account-with.html

Through the Google lens: Search trends April 17-23

Category: Google | Apr 24, 2015

Everyone wants to know what D.J. Tanner and Target are up to. Read on for all the search scoop from this week:

The earth in focus
Wednesday marked the 45th annual Earth Day celebration. People came to search to get more information on the origins of the holiday and learn about ways to conserve—oh, and find out what animal they are, of course. In addition to searches for [earth day slogans] and [earth day worksheets], searchers asked questions like “When was the first Earth Day?”, “How do we stop climate change?” and “Is styrofoam recyclable?”

Just when we were feeling all warm and fuzzy about our planet, we got a reminder that nature can be a little scary as well as awe-inspiring. In Chile, the Calbuco volcano exploded for the first time in more than 40 years, sending clouds of ash into the air and causing thousands to evacuate. There were 100K+ searches for [chile volcano] as people sought to learn more about the eruption.

Prized Pulitzers
Sunday morning, people lined up outside Target stores around the country for the launch of the store’s new Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. But many fans waited in vain, as the affordable line of clothes and home decor sold out within hours both on and offline. Shoppers vented on social media, and searches for Lilly Pulitzer reached an all-time high this month. Meanwhile, persistent types have driven searches for [lilly pulitzer ebay] up 1000% in the last seven days.

But lucky Lilly fans weren’t the only ones thanking the stars for their Pulitzer this week. This year’s Pulitzer prizes were announced on Monday, leading people to the web to learn more about the winners across categories ranging from fiction to investigative reporting to poetry. (And in case you were wondering: Lilly Pulitzer, who died in 2013, was once married to the grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, who established the eponymous Prize.)

Everywhere you look…
…there are reboots. First “DuckTales,” then “The Muppet Show,” and now “Fuller House.” This week Netflix announced a spin-off of the 90s family sitcom “Full House,” to debut in 2016, and 200,000+ searches followed. The new show will feature oldest sister D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure), and several other stars from the original series are signed on to return, including Jodie Sweetin—the subject of some 50K+ searches this week—and John Stamos. Still, it’s yet to be seen whether the rest of the cast will participate or decide to cut it out. Though searches for Mary-Kate Olsen reached more than 50,000 this week, she and her sister have said that they were surprised by the news. So you might want to wait a bit before saying “TGIF!

Tip of the week
Keep that good Earth Day momentum going. Just ask Google, “Where can I recycle electronics near me?” for a handy list of places to drop off your old wires and devices.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [gilbert blythe] and [nba playoff schedule]

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/mWkQDOphzjE/search-trends-apr-24-15.html

Say hi to Fi: A new way to say hello

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2015

In today’s mobile world, fast and reliable connectivity is almost second nature. But even in places like the U.S., where mobile connections are nearly ubiquitous, there are still times when you turn to your phone for that split-second answer and don’t have fast enough speed. Or you can’t get calls and texts because you left your phone in a taxi (or it got lost in a couch cushion for the day). As mobile devices continually improve how you connect to people and information, it’s important that wireless connectivity and communication keep pace and be fast everywhere, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.

That’s why today we’re introducing Project Fi, a program to explore this opportunity by introducing new ideas through a fast and easy wireless experience. Similar to our Nexus hardware program, Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what’s possible. By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate. Two of the top mobile networks in the U.S.—Sprint and T-Mobile—are partnering with us to launch Project Fi and now you can be part of the project too.

Our three focus areas include:

Helping you get the highest-quality connection
Project Fi aims to put you on the best network wherever you go. As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it’s Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable. Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you’re not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places. Learn more about our network of networks.

Enabling easy communication across networks and devices
Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you’re using. Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi—whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat. We also want to help phone numbers adapt to a multi-screen world. With Project Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud, so you can talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop. So the next time you misplace your phone, you can stay connected using another screen. Check out how it works.

Making the service experience as simple as possible
Project Fi takes a fresh approach to how you pay for wireless, manage your service, and get in touch when you need help. We offer one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. Here’s how it works: for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it’s a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it’s hard to predict your data usage, you’ll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let’s say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You’ll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use. Get all the details about our plan.

Be part of the project from the start
We’re beginning Project Fi’s Early Access Program to invite people to sign up for the service. Project Fi will be available on the Nexus 6, which we developed with Motorola and is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software to work with our service. If you live where we have coverage in the U.S., request an invite at fi.google.com to get started.

We look forward to connecting!

Posted by Nick Fox, VP of Communications Products

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Yyt-tE23Kms/project-fi.html

Which animal are you? Take the Google Doodle Earth Day Quiz

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2015

You can search Google for answers to all kinds of animal questions: What does an aye-aye eat? Where do narwhals live? How long is a toco toucan’s beak? And this Earth Day, you can turn to Google for the answer to something that you’ve always needed to know: which animal are you???

Clicking on this year’s Earth Day logo (or searching for “Earth Day quiz”) presents one of the Internet’s favorite pastimes: a totally scientific and 1,000% accurate personality quiz. Take the time to answer a few questions to determine and share your Earth Day animal. And, of course, you’re only a search away from learning more about nature’s precious pals and interesting inhabitants (FYI: kakapo is the heaviest parrot).

If you need proof of the accuracy of our quiz, look no further than the testimonials of some of our wildlife-loving, quiz-taking friends like Ed Norton, Jared Leto, and Maggie Q. Dame Jane Goodall took the quiz and had this to report:

Once you’ve gotten to know your deepest self (and animal avatar), we hope you’re inspired to help make a real difference this Earth Day. For the month of April, we’re partnering with our friends at Google.org, who will match donations to the following animal-loving organizations up to $20,000. That means every $1 you donate to one of these great groups is worth $2 to protect wildlife around the world. Chip in what you can at the Jane Goodall Institute, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, World Wildlife Fund, WildAid, Zoological Society of London and Virunga Fund.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead, Giant Squid

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/1HSyO_Ef_ow/which-animal-are-you-take-google-doodle.html

Walk in the footsteps of South Africa’s freedom fighters

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2015

On April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in the country’s first democratic, post-Apartheid election. Known now as “Freedom Day,” that date has become a symbol of hope in South Africa and around the world. To commemorate this historic day, we’ve partnered with the Robben Island Museum and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to bring the story of this UNESCO World Heritage Site online for the world to explore. The Maps gallery and Cultural Institute online tour allow people everywhere to see the island where Nelson Mandela and many of South Africa’s freedom fighters were imprisoned during their quest for equality.

As a symbol of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Robben Island has become a destination for people to connect with Mandela and other freedom fighters. Standing in Mandela’s 8 x 7 foot prison cell, it’s hard to believe someone could spend 18 years here. Exploring the historical artifacts on the tour, you can also see photographs of his cell during the time of his imprisonment. You can imagine Mandela sitting at the cramped desk, surrounded by books and papers, working towards a future of freedom for all.

Photograph of Mandela’s Cell c.1971

Robben Island was also where activist Robert Sobukwe was imprisoned, kept in solitary confinement for more than three years after taking a stand against the Pass Law, which required black citizens to carry an internal passport and severely limited their mobility. Exploring Sobukwe’s home on Robben Island, you can learn more about the man who didn’t let prison halt his attempts to make equality a reality. You can even view the pages of his notebook, which is still kept on his desk today.

Robert Sobukwe’s house of solitary confinement on Robben Island

In the new online exhibitions on the Cultural Institute platform, you can also listen to prisoners’ personal anecdotes about life at this infamous prison, including memories of where they were forced to work as well as how they studied and came together to create a unified vision for freedom in South Africa. You can see some personal items donated by former political prisoners, including a football trophy from the their FIFA-recognized league, hand-drawn table tennis awards, a treasured trumpet, and a duplicate master key fashioned by a prisoner from lead.

View of the Lime Quarry, the site of enforced prison labor at Robben Island

Once a symbol of the oppressive Apartheid regime, Robben Island is now a memorial and a reminder of the human spirit’s irrepressible search for freedom. We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to explore and be inspired by the island’s story of hope and humanity.

Posted by Luke McKend, Country Director for Google South Africa

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/9bGM2BD6dCE/walk-in-footsteps-of-south-africas.html

Myth or monster? Explore Loch Ness with Street View

Category: Google | Apr 20, 2015

Like the world’s best legends, the Loch Ness Monster transcends the everyday and exists at the edges of possibility. It rises above the sightings and the hoaxes; the claims and counter-claims; the tourism, the nationalism—and even the assassination plots. It lives in the telling of stories. Whether or not you believe, most people hold a romanticized vision of the creature that, legend has it, plumbs the depths of the Loch. Affectionately known as “Nessie,” she exists in folklore, dances in childrens’ imaginations, and seeps into our society and teachings, inspiring everything from pop music to pop culture to pulp fiction.

In 1934, the “Surgeon’s Photograph” was released, claiming to show the monster in the misty waters of the lake. It’s the most iconic photo in the history of Loch Ness—and may be one of the most elaborate hoaxes of our age. Today, to celebrate the anniversary of its release, we’re bringing 360-degree Street View imagery of Loch Ness to Google Maps, so you can go in search of Nessie yourself.

Sail across the freshwater lake and take in its haunting beauty, made darker still by the peat particles found in its waters. Let the Loch unlock the spirit of your imagination, where the rippling water, tricks of the light, and drifting logs bring the legend of Nessie to life. Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness & Morar Project, has been engaged in fieldwork in the Highlands since 1973 and was an integral part of the Street View collection. As a true Loch Ness expert, Shine has logged more than 1,000 Nessie sightings and offers scientific explanations for why people claim to have seen Scotland’s mysterious cryptid.

Formed of a series of interrelated bodies of water, including the River Oich to the south and the Bona Narrows to the north, Loch Ness stretches for 23 miles southwest of Inverness. Although it’s neither the largest Scottish loch by surface area nor depth, it is the largest by volume, containing more freshwater than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. And at almost 800 feet deep, there’s an entire world below the surface, giving rise to the Nessie legend.

To take you on a tour of what lies beneath, our partners at the Catlin Seaview Survey dived deep under the surface of the lake, collecting imagery along the way. You can imagine Nessie nestling within these dark, peat-filled waters, waiting for the right moment to breach the surface into the Scottish sunlight above.

A diver from the Catlin Seaview Survey collecting underwater imagery of Loch Ness

Wherever you stand on the Nessie debate, the legend lives on—even in the digital era. There are more searches for Loch Ness than there are for other U.K. institutions like Buckingham Palace and the Peak District. And as we celebrate Loch Ness with today’s Doodle, we hope you can enjoy some of the most history-laden and breathtaking imagery the highlands have to offer with Street View in Google Maps.

By Sven Tresp, Program Manager, Street View Special Collections

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/GI60s_gnAGE/myth-or-monster-explore-loch-ness-with.html

Android Wear: wear what you want, get what you need

Category: Google | Apr 20, 2015

Architect and artist William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Turns out that’s also good advice for deciding what to wear. So Android Wear offers a range of watches and apps that are fashionable as well as functional.

Over the past few months we’ve added lots of ways to express your style—from custom watch faces to a rainbow of bands. Today we’re making Android Wear more helpful as well—getting you what you need, right on your wrist.

Always-on screen, always-on apps

When you buy a watch you want it to, well, tell the time. So most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. In either case the screen is only full color when you’re actively looking at it—so you get the info you need, and you save on battery life.

Wi-Fi support

With GPS and offline music support, you can already leave your phone at home, then go jogging and jamming like normal. Now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi. As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps. And if you really do forget your phone, you can always ask your watch where it is.

Simpler, faster, and more smiley

When it comes to your watch, using apps should be as simple as checking the time. So today we’re making a number of Android Wear improvements to help you access your info, and express yourself more easily:

  • Got your hands full? You no longer need them to check your news and notifications. Instead you can just flick your wrist to scroll through the stream.
  • Your apps and contacts are now just a tap away from the watch face. Just touch the screen, and you’ll be able to start apps and send messages immediately.
  • : Can’t talk? Now you can draw hundreds of different emojis, directly on the watch screen. We’ll recognize your work (no art degree required) and send it via message or text.

These updates are coming to all seven Android Wear watches over the next few weeks, starting with the new LG Watch Urbane. In the meantime, there are plenty of useful apps and lots of beautiful watch faces—so find your favorites, and wear what you want.

Posted by David Singleton, Director of Engineering, Android Wear

(Cross-posted to the Official Android Blog)

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/v9LMsYleiI4/android-wear-wear-what-you-want-get.html

Through the Google lens: Search trends April 10-16

Category: Google | Apr 17, 2015

To kiss Madonna or not…that was the big question on search this week. Read on to find out more.

Best I ever had?
In the land of music festivals, Coachella is the biggest of them all. With thousands of fans and celebrities swarming to the California desert to party, there’s bound to be a couple of surprises throughout the weekend’s shenanigans. This year, rapper Drake got a little more than he expected when he brought Madonna on stage as a guest performer. The pop singer, never one to shy away from scandal, decided it was entirely appropriate to make out with Drake–on stage, in front of everyone and, apparently, without his consent. The shocking liplock swept the Internet off its feet (mainly because Drake seemed horrified by the experience). Nonetheless, searches for Madonna hit 500,000+ and Drake reached his highest peak in queries so far this year. But everything’s still good between the two: Drake responded to the commotion on Instagram. “Don’t misinterpret my shock!!” he wrote in a comment. “I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel 100 about that forever.”

We’re willing to bet that pro golfer Jordan Spieth is having the best week of his life after he won the Masters Tournament and became the competition’s second youngest winner after Tiger Woods at the age of 21. Spieth took home $1.8 million in prize money and more than a half million searches–sounds like a good day on the greens to us.

I approve this message
Campaign season is back in full force this week. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed America’s worst kept secret, announcing her presidential run with a YouTube video. Meanwhile, the list of contenders for the Republican nomination grows every week —Senator Marco Rubio threw his name into the hat ring as well. Queries for both nominees nearly crossed a million as people turned to the web to find more details about their political positions and track records.

Back in D.C., the latest distraction came in the form of a gyrocopter. In a bid to stir the debate about campaign finance reform, pilot Doug Hughes (illegally) landed a gyroplane on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The stunt is getting people talking about how much money candidates raise and spend during elections and boosting searches for gyrocopters to an all-time high.

Show me the money
Ever thought about working in the credit card business? Maybe you should reconsider your future plans. This week the CEO of Gravity payments, a credit card processing company, informed his employees that he was raising the minimum salary to $70,000–seriously! CEO Dan Price told the media he made the change as a way to confront income inequality. Buzz for the little-known company skyrocketed since the media caught wind of the announcement, with searches topping more than 100,000.

Tip of the week
Can’t find your phone and starting to feel desperate? If you’re computer is nearby you can now ask Google to find your Android phone from your desktop. Just say, “find my phone” on Voice Search and Google will ring the phone for you. Just make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Google app installed on your device!

Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [dradonna] and [can i get a raise]

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/wtpEgrXpqIU/through-google-lens-search-trends-april.html

The Search for Harm

Category: Google | Apr 15, 2015

In the summer of 2010, Google announced plans to acquire the flight search provider, ITA.  As we said at the time, while many people buy their airline tickets online, finding the right flight at the best price can be a real hassle.  Today Google Flight Search has made that much easier.  Search for “Flight CDG to SFO” and you get the different options right there on the results page.  It’s a great example of Google’s increasing ability to answer queries directly, saving people a lot of time and effort — because as Larry Page said over a decade ago “the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want”.  

At the time of the ITA acquisition, several online travel companies–Expedia, Kayak, and Travelocity–unsuccessfully lobbied regulators in the US and the European Union to block the deal, arguing that our ability to show flight options directly would siphon off their traffic and harm competition online.  Four years later it’s clear their allegations of harm turned out to be untrue.  As the Washington Post recently pointed out (in an article headed “Google Flight Search, four years in:  not the competition-killer critics feared”) Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity account for 95% of the US online travel market today.  It’s a similar situation in Europe too, as this graph for Germany neatly shows:

Travel sites in Germany
Source: ComScore MMX and Google data (for Google), desktop traffic, unique visitors (‘000s)

We’ve seen similar allegations of harm from competitors in other areas.  And the European Commission today confirmed that it is sending Google a Statement of Objections (SO) regarding the display and ranking of shopping results.   

While Google may be the most used search engine, people can now find and access information in numerous different ways — and allegations of harm, for consumers and competitors, have proved to be wide of the mark.   

More choice than ever before
In fact, people have more choice than ever before.  

  • There are numerous other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo and a new wave of search assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.  
  • In addition, there are a ton of specialized services like Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide, Expedia or eBay.  For example, Amazon, eBay, and Axel Springer’s Idealo are the three most popular shopping services in Germany.  
  • People are increasingly using social sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to find recommendations, such as where to eat, which movies to watch or how to decorate their homes.  
  • When it comes to news, users often go directly to their favorite sites.  For example, Bild and The Guardian get up to 85% of their traffic directly.  Less than 10% comes from Google.

Of course mobile is changing things as well.  Today 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps — in other words consumers are going to whichever websites or apps serve them best.  And they face no friction or costs in switching between them.  Yelp, for example, has told investors they get over 40% of their traffic direct from their mobile app.  So while in many ways it’s flattering to be described as a gatekeeper, the facts don’t actually bear that out.  

Thriving competition online
Which brings me to the competition.  Companies like Axel Springer, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Yelp (all vociferous complainants in this process) have alleged that Google’s practice of including our specialized results (Flight Search, Maps, Local results, etc.) in search has significantly harmed their businesses.  But their traffic, revenues and profits (as well as the pitch they make to investors) tell a very different story.

  • Yelp calls itself the “de facto local search engine” and has seen revenue growth of over 350% in the last four years.  
  • TripAdvisor claims to be the Web’s largest travel brand and has nearly doubled its revenues in the last four years.
  • Expedia has grown its revenues by more than 67% over the same period — and recently told investors:  “We’re seeing increased traffic coming through Google Hotel Finder.  It is ­clearly getting more exposure. And in general … the product continues to improve.  And Google has invested in it, we’ll continue to invest in it … From our standpoint, we’re happy to play in any market that Google puts out there and over a long period of time, we have proven an ability to get our fair share in the Google marketplaces.” (Remarkable given their complaints).
  • Axel Springer continues to invest in search, including the French search engine Qwant, because as the company told investors, there is a lot of innovation on the search market”.  

Indeed if you look at shopping — an area where we have seen a lot of complaints and where the European Commission has focused in its Statement of Objections — it’s clear that (a) there’s a ton of competition (including from Amazon and eBay, two of the biggest shopping sites in the world) and (b) Google’s shopping results have not the harmed the competition.  Take a look at these graphs:

Shopping Sites in Germany (unique visitors, ‘000s)
Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 1.22.41 PM.png

Shopping Sites in France (unique visitors, ‘000s)
Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 8.53.36 AM.png

Shopping Sites in the UK (unique visitors, ‘000s)
Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 1.23.11 PM.png

Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating — or dominated by one player.  Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world.  Zalando, the German shopping site, went public in 2014 in one of Europe’s biggest-ever tech IPOs.  Companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Amazon have been investing in their own search services and search engines like Quixey, DuckDuckGo and Qwant have attracted new funding.  We’re seeing innovation in voice search and the rise of search assistants — with even more to come.

It’s why we respectfully but strongly disagree with the need to issue a Statement of Objections and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead.   

Posted by Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President, Google Search

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/R-vcF5xIfRc/the-search-for-harm.html