Can These Search Engines Do The Impossible – Peel Market Share From Google?

After greater than a decade of relative stasis within the search engine market – which is to say, Google cementing its dominance at each step – is there a chance for Google alternate options to achieve share?
Some big-name gamers within the house suppose so.
In June, there was the general public launch of Neeva, an ad-free subscription search expertise. Co-founded by a crew of former Google search and promoting product leaders, it’s headed by Sridhar Ramaswamy, who ran Google’s search promoting enterprise. Then the privacy-focused browser Brave introduced its personal search engine.
Most folks in all probability haven’t thought an excessive amount of about their search engine. Google has a 90% share of the North American search engine market, in response to Statcounter information, up from 84% 10 years in the past. Google search is all over the place: Chrome (with built-in Google search) holds the bulk share of the browser market, and Google search is licensed to main potential rivals like Apple.
But as privateness and safety turn out to be a much bigger precedence for US shoppers, these points are making folks rethink their search engine choices.
AdExchanger seemed on the enterprise fashions and methods of upstart search engines like google vying for a bit of Google’s share of the search market and, in some instances, a bit of Google’s promoting pie.

DuckDuckGo, based in 2008, was one of many first privacy-focused browsers to tug search customers away from the Googleverse. It’s been a gentle contender within the class, if solely as a result of it’s a substitute for Big Tech search engines like google (i.e., Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo) and hammered out a place for itself as a privacy-focused supplier.
DuckDuckGo thinks of itself as “an web privateness firm,” mentioned Kamyl Bazbaz, the corporate’s VP of communications. On high of the search engine, it introduced a desktop app that can be utilized as a browser final month. A separate e mail privateness resolution screens emails from sure suppliers so the true handle isn’t disclosed.
Search engines these days want options for mapping, journey planning and information. Google spends tens or a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} per yr on all of these issues. DuckDuckGo contracts out that work. JourneyAdvisor gives journey search data; Apple’s Safari WebKit is the code for the browser tech and Apple Maps is the situation information supplier; Wikipedia solutions some primary question outcomes. The largest companion is Bing, which handles advert gross sales. (Every question comes as if it’s from a recent person.)
DuckDuckGo has been worthwhile since 2014 and earned greater than $100 million previously yr, Bazbaz mentioned.
DuckDuckGo lacks the sources and platform benefits of different search engines like google, however it exhibits how profitable a search engine toehold may be, even with out Google’s monitoring equipment. In the US, DuckDuckGo’s market share grew from 1.3% two years in the past to about 2.5% now, although it doesn’t high 1% utilization elsewhere, in response to Statista information.
But it nonetheless has a $100 million run price. And there’s room to develop.
DuckDuckGo expects person progress from individuals who browse in non-public modes to keep away from trackers or use two-party authentication or safety providers to guard accounts, Bazbaz mentioned. People who’ve had their identities stolen, accounts hacked or information leaked additionally are likely to see how their search engine alternative can have an effect on their precise lives. “That group has turn out to be far more mainstream than 5 years in the past,” he mentioned.
Neeva is maybe essentially the most adventurous new search engine enterprise mannequin.
Other gamers available in the market take it as a on condition that promoting and online marketing will account for income. It’s onerous sufficient to compete with Google with out including a price barrier. But Neeva has a subscription enterprise.
Ad-supported search engines like google inevitably favor advertisers over the customers’ pursuits, Neeva CEO Ramaswamy informed AdExchanger. Ads begin to chase you across the net, or develop to resemble natural outcomes. “With Neeva, you by no means should suppose, ‘Is this an affiliate hyperlink?’”
Neeva nonetheless has free entry. Ramaswamy mentioned the subscription gating will roll out within the coming months, and can finally settle round $5 monthly.
Each person’s month-to-month allotment is shared out amongst information publishers and different websites that companion with Neeva to seem in outcomes, based mostly on their website site visitors from the search engine.
The firm had 10,000 customers as of July after a yearlong check mode.
Many of the early adopters have come from PR efforts, Ramaswamy mentioned. Neeva hasn’t run any advertisements. Parents just like the clear, extra managed search expertise, he mentioned, and are keen to pay for an alternate. And one shock phase is seniors. Many on-line scams that focus on seniors begin with advertisements for searches for machine and software program help.
Brave Search
The browser firm Brave acquired a search engine startup referred to as Tailcat in March and launched the beta model of its repurposed search product in June.
Brave Search, because it’s identified, can have ad-supported and ad-free tiers. It can even be constructed into the Brave browser in distinctive methods. For one factor, beginning later this yr, it will likely be the default search service within the Brave browser, which has 32 million month-to-month customers, CEO Brendan Eich informed AdExchanger. Brave Search had greater than 100,000 Brave customers join as early customers of the search product, a person base that’s vital as the corporate hones its algorithm.
“People are keen to strive us as a result of we’re non-public, we’re taking a swing on the Big Tech monopolist, they usually’re sport to assist us get higher,” Eich mentioned.
Many folks confuse the browser and the search engine, he mentioned. The two aren’t intrinsically related, although Google creates a strong synergy between Chrome and its search advertisements enterprise. The search engine and browser are “flip sides of the identical coin.”
Brave nonetheless must iron out promoting offers, Eich mentioned. But the corporate is “crypto first” and can combine its browser cryptocurrency, the Brave Browser Attention Tokens, so customers can earn rewards from seeing search advertisements – a service it already presents for its browser homepage advertisements.
Can anybody do it? Can any of those corporations dent Google’s search engine market share or search promoting enterprise?
The reply isn’t any.
To put DuckDuckGo’s $100 million annual earnings in perspective, Google’s search advert enterprise added $13 billion previously yr and earned greater than $29 billion in Q2 alone.
However, the search engine market is immensely precious, so a startup like DuckDuckGo may be worthwhile and develop steadily regardless of Google’s dominance. Privacy-minded customers and people who find themselves anxious about on-line safety at the moment are a significant market in their very own proper.
And there will likely be different methods rival search engines like google entice activist or philosophical customers. Brave’s Eich pointed to how different privacy-focused search providers (particularly, DuckDuckGo) censor queries and pictures just like the Tiananmen Square “Tank Man” – the well-known photograph of a nonviolent Chinese activist – as a result of their search index makes use of Microsoft Bing, which should conciliate the Chinese authorities.
But even when Google stays the search engine of alternative, extra individuals are testing the waters than you would possibly suppose:
“By the way in which, 10% of the inhabitants within the US tries a brand new search engine each month,” Neeva’s Ramaswamy informed AdExchanger. “So there’s lively churn.”

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