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Google: a research engine or an advertising company?

55.1% of the world’s population (around 4 trillion people) use the internet today and refer to the World Wide Web, just for anything and everything.

Around 80% of the developed world population and 40% of the developing world population are using the internet now. The number of users is steeply increasing year to year: it increased globally from 40% in 2014 to 55.1% today. You can see the growth in the percentage of individuals using the Internet from 1990–2014 on the map below.

With the increase in users the internet engines improve too. It is interesting to note how far search engines have come. In 1999 (that is only 20 years ago) it took Google one month to crawl and index 50 million pages, however in 2012 it took less than one minute, now it is even faster!

Almost 2 trillion websites exit on Web, 160 trillions of emails are sent every day and 4 trillion videos are watched on YouTube today. Roughly 40,000 search queries hit Google every second, translating to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. For more statistic visit internet live stats website.

The whole internet experience nowadays starts with search engines. Every time we are looking for something we go to Google or Yahoo! or any other home page of search engine, type the keyword and hit the search button. But by doing so have you ever wondered why some search engines are so popular and others are rarely used or didn’t stay around for a long time? What makes a search engine good.

Indeed, the search engines are changing all the time, many of the once created at the very beginning of the internet (the early ’90s) are inactive now and even those introduced later as the internet developed were not able to remain on the market for a long time. When we think about the success of the search engine, it’s not just the algorithms we need to consider. We also need to think about how people use search engines and how their behavior has changed over the years.

Now around 25 search engines are present on the Web, where the biggest share is 74. 28% and the smallest share is less than a thousand decimals place of a present. According to Net Market Share the global marketing share percentage, in terms of the use of search engines heavily favored Google throughout 2018 – averaging a net share of 76.54% and even reaching ever highest 78.23% in January 2019.  This again reinforces the fact that Google is the market leader, however, it also highlights that the “Others” such as Yahoo!, Bing and Baidu etc. still hold a large audience and it would be silly to simply ignore them (averaging between 5-10% market share).

The internet is moving at a faster pace and it is important to keep up. Statistics help us turn data into information, allowing us to make informed and rational decisions but statistics can also as easily be misused to make decisions for us.

Google knows a lot more about you than you probably think it does. If you use its products, such as Gmail, Google Search or even an Android phone, the company is collecting your data. So what data is collected? It keeps basically everything: your name, email address, birthday, gender, phone number and country. It collects data on what videos you watch, the ads you click, your location, device information, IP address, and cookie data. Google openly claims that it collects data on you to personalize the ads and customize searches. But is this data collection really necessary?

It’s actually a big myth that search engines need to track your data. Almost all of the money search engines make (including Google) is based on the keywords you type in, without knowing anything about you. How does keywords ad work? It is very straightforward: the companies buy ads by bidding on keywords not on people, so if you type word “dishwasher” you will immediately get ads on dishwashers.

So why do they track it all then? Because Google is not really a search company; it is an advertising company. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged into what’s called your “unique advertising ID”. Google keeps track of things that this ID searches and buys and everything else. This is why if you search for something on Google, you may start seeing ads for it everywhere.

This advertising system is designed to enable hyper-targeting, which has many unintended consequences. Everyone probably heard how the data was misused to influence the elections and expose to companies you’ve never even heard of. But the end of the day you can be sure that Google will never intend to sell your data, it’s too valuable to share with anyone. Google just will store it all for an indefinite time.


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