If you work on a competitor to Google’s search, you will eventually hear that “you only need to build a better search engine and you would capture significant market share”. Wouldn’t users immediately switch? The former Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously phrased that Google’s dominance is not a problem since “competition is just one click away”. This is a dangerous statement: it justifies Google’s 93% monopoly. It is also a discouraging statement: it implies competition is just not able to build a good search engine. And it is a very wrong statement: It implies that people choose Google only because of its quality. Yes, the quality of the product is a necessary condition for success. It is however not a sufficient condition. Almost all browsers and almost all phones today come with Google as the default search engine. It is not by chance. Google pays a heavy sum to be pre-installed at these positions. They are standing in front of yearly bribes (yes, you read it right, a bribe), of 27 billion US dollars to make sure they monopolize all search entry points and ask you to look somewhere else.
Building a search engine is without doubt a hard and challenging task. You need data, you need access to crawling, you need good algorithms, you need smart people and you will most certainly need more than tens of millions of dollars. There are many technical challenges, network effects working against you, and data barriers to entry. But it can be done. Microsoft did it. We, Cliqz, did it. Others did it. But still Google has a 93% market share in Europe and even 97% on mobile.