European Google Alternatives: Not Too Many

April 19, 2011

State of Search ran a very interesting story called “5 Google Alternatives in Europe.” We knew a few of these, but others were new to me.

The article points out that, aside from Russia, Google has the European search market locked up. However, Microsoft’s Bing, as well as some home-grown options, are viable rivals. The Microsoft allegation about Google’s competitive posture in Europe may be in part related to Google’s dominance in the European search market. The article said:

But despite [Google’s] dominance, there are alternative search engines in Europe, and they can be worth looking at. With Europe’s more than 800 million people, of whom about 60% spends time online, even a small percentage using alternatives to Google offer attractively large numbers, and targeting users of those search engines could be very profitable.

Naturally, Bing is a contender. In France and the UK, it is doing better than elsewhere across the pond, with a market share of 2.8 percent and four percent respectively.

In Russia, Yandex has a 64 percent market share, and Yandex continues to expand. The company is adding features that go beyond search. Yandex wants to serve other European countries as well.

Seznam is the engine to watch in the Czech Republic. For Czech language searches, the system returns useful results. Germany and Spain present a different case. Although the runner up to Google there is technically T-Online, that portal is Google-powered. You might want to try Conduit, which has traction in Germany and Spain.

Google has what seems to be a firm grip on the Netherlands, where its market share is alleged to be 94 percent. There are a few other engines in Europe to explore, such as Poland’s Onet.pl, Ask.com in the UK and Nordic countries, and Orange in France.

Stepping back, despite the attention given to search, there seems to be fewer and fewer choices for those who want results not processed by one of the giants. We have frozen our list of international search engines. The choices keep dwindling. Is this a positive or negative development?

Most users want to go one place and get the answer needed. Dinosaurs, like Stephen E Arnold, ArnoldIT.com, runs multiple queries. Soon the dinosaurs will be dead and I won’t have to listen to explanations of the issues in today’s search engines. That’s a plus!

Cynthia Murrel, April 19, 2011

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