The War for Mobile Search

from Medium

There’s a war being waged in mobile. A war to control the final lucrative frontier that will shape how mobile is monetized. The battle is for mobile search, and its outcome is uncertain. Today, mobile search is a wild landscape of competing and contradictory technologies, unfulfilled promises, and 800 pound gorillas strategically positioning themselves without any centralized regulation or governance.

It should be no surprise that the war for search has gone mobile as people spend more and more time on their phones. In May 2015, Google confirmed that mobile search queries overtook desktop queries. By all indications this trend will continue?—?comScore recently issued a report suggesting mobile search queries will grow by approximately 20% a year.

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11 Responses to The War for Mobile Search

  1. Spencer Ross March 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    The War for Mobile Search
    Apple v Google, two huge corporations squaring off to see who will own the mobile search industry. It will be one superpower versus another. This article concludes that Google is the underdog in this market because they only control 25% of the mobile searches that are being made. The rest are made on Apple’s devices. However the article fails to emphasize the importance of Google’s huge market share over phone operating systems. About 80% of phones use this system while Apple controls the rest. The article makes the case that because Apple still has control over the searches made on their phones they will be able to develop a better mobile search engine that will take away some of Google’s profits. Google responds by improving their software so that consumers value a Google search over an Apple search. However this neglects the more obvious solution to the problem that Google is having. If Google still controls the searches made in 80% of phones, but their consumer base is not nearly as valuable in terms of searches made than Apple consumers, then Google must also focus on making their consumers more inclined to make searches. Therefore increasing their shared of mobile searches and increasing profits. I am no genius on how to improve these statistics, but with all the intelligence over at Google it’s hard to believe that they won’t be able to come up with something.

    I can’t help but make this irrelevant observation on the topic, “The War for Mobile Search” is very similar to the upcoming movie event of Batman v Superman. Batman being Apple and Superman being Google. Think about it, Apple is the new company with all the gadgets that other companies don’t have. And Google’s power in global markets is unmatched by anyone. But in this situation we see the two of these superheroes battling it out much like Apple and Google will do for the mobile search market. In this war Apple is finally able to stand up to Google, the company with seemingly unmatched power. Apple begins a plan to fight and take back control of the industry from Google. Much like the fight between the two superheroes, from the previews I have seen, Batman is standing up to superman and at one point the trailer even shows Batman matching the power of superman as superman tries to deliver a fatal blow. It’s all make believe, but the consistencies are undeniable. Take a look at the trailer for yourself and hopefully, through your prior knowledge and deep love for superheroes, you will see the contrast. These are two huge fights where the public has no idea what to expect. Upon first looking at the situations I would choose superman and Google winning the fights, but Apple has proved resourceful in the past, and counting out Batman would be pure foolishness. Hopefully I don’t have to say this, but for anyone who can’t see this comparison as a joke let me insert this small disclaimer that comparison of the two battles is fueled purely by my own interests and may lack fact as well as substance about the real issue.

  2. Moe Jaman March 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    In a mobile device we search for the quickest and easiest to use devices and software. In this department IOS and Apple take their well-earned win. Apple and IOS is generally quick and adaptable. The software can open, run, and access many types of files and programs that are sometimes not available on an android, not to mention easier to navigate around. This idea can help explain how IOs with a fourth of the users of android makes up for 75% of google searches.
    As android is a part of Microsoft it is generally joined with Bing search, another Microsoft branch. This includes making Bing the default search program on windows and android devices. This would explain the massive amounts of google searches on IOS as IOS has its default and Siri search set to use google for searches. As android uses Bing for default it is set to trail behind.
    Back to mobile development, “In May 2015, Google confirmed that mobile search queries overtook desktop queries”. This is no surprise as the quickness and convenience of mobile searching is uncontested. A simple search on a mobile device that people carry everywhere is just simply more convenient and so mobile searching has taken off, especially as engineers have innovated the software to incredible speeds. BusinessWeek states that, “The days of paying for costly software upgrades are numbered. The PC will soon be obsolete”. Also BusinessWeek reports “70% of Americans are already using the technology that will replace it”. Merrill Lynch calls the switch over to mobile “a $160 billion tsunami” for the PC world. Computing giants including IBM, Yahoo!, and Amazon are racing to be the first to cash in on this PC-killing revolution. Yet, a small group of little-known companies have a huge head start.
    These small companies that make great strives on mobile devices are generally the ones that have a distinctive apps in the marketplace. This is also described in the article as apple “incorporating popular app into features in new IOs updates”. For example, as google maps and fitness apps became more popular, apple begin to make their own programs and versions of such apps, which would be included into the next IOS update. This is a great strategy to keep their user base on their field but leads to a bigger idea.
    As a program like GPS is integrated to a mobile device, this device has now also become a GPS, something a computed can’t do, at least not as easily. Continuously, as a fitness monitoring program is integrated into the phones default, the device becomes a health asset as well. Now users can log, monitor, and organize their health on their phones, literally anywhere and anytime with an internet connection to their phone. This not only boosts the usage of mobile devices but revenues form them as well. Which in turn would cause companies and corporations to focus more on mobile devices as they become more convenient, profitable, and useful.
    Now as mobile is becoming the “Go-To” for searching, great new improvements are being made to them which will only continue the growth of mobile usage. With that established Google is now scrambling to keep up with the growth and learning to develop whatever they need, to make sure they can be first to integrate into any new program coming out. This will make them a partner that Apple could not resist as they look to optimize their products.

  3. KoL Unger April 8, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Google is go to search engine for the majority of people. It is so much the popular choice that it has become a verb. Don’t know something? Google it. Yet Google is very likely about to lose a giant chunk of its revenue. Presently, Google relies on iOS users for 75% of its mobile search revenue, and that fact may very quickly change. This is shocking considering that users of Android, who is operated by Google, compose of 4x the consumer base. This means that the average iOS user is 10x as valuable as an average Android user. All this to say, Google very much would like to retain these consumers if not need to to maintain its clout. A while ago, Google formed a contract with Apple to own the Safari search bar, but in negotiations Apple was adamant to include an opt-out clause. Even in forming the contract, Google must have known this day would one day come, knowing Apple’s history of copying business models and adapting them for their own platform. Apple has established this as a pattern, replacing Google maps, flashlight apps, fitness tracking apps, news readers, and Evernote. Google had already taken a loss when Apple used Google maps as a model for their own Maps app. In releasing iOS 9, Apple made clear that they absolutely intend to pursue creating their own web search system to replace Google’s place on the Safari search bar. With this announcement, Google has significantly increased its marketing in an attempt to lessen the impact the release of Apple’s mobile search service will have.

    Personally, I am a huge Google fan. Not only do I think their products are superior to most, if not all, others on the market, but I admire their business structure, culture, and ethical awareness. I would like to support Google rather than Apple, but I know that convenience holds a lot of appeal for me. Google has had decades to perfect its search engine, and I question how Apple’s product will compare. Many of Apple’s first release of their products leave much to be desired but greatly improve with subsequent updates.

    The biggest issue for Google will be maintaining its ownership of the Safari search bar. As an iOS user myself, if I want to search anything I simply open Safari and search as do many others. However, when I had a Windows phone, which had Bing as its go-to search bar, I used that. When it comes down to it, people want convenience. They will use whatever is one click away. Currently, Goggle owns the Safari search bar. From the outside, it seems like Apple has an easy way out of this contract, or it is short term enough to let Apple out soon. I do not know how Google can go about securing its place on Safari, but right now Google has launched a full-scale marketing campaign promoting its quality, pointing out the deficiencies of “other” companies’ products, and continuously releasing new features that are rumored to be present on the Apple mobile search system.

  4. Jalen Leacock April 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    This article is about the mobile search market rivalry google and apple. In the US, its largest market, Google handles about two-thirds of web search queries, according to comScore—some 12 billion last month. This has been the case for a few years, while second- and third-place search engines—Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo, both well behind Google—have merely switched ranks. This has now been threatened recently because competitors such as Bing have been making big strides to catch up to them in the online search industry while apple is challenging google in the mobile search industry.
    I believe that this rivalry for the mobile search stems from the rivalry between the mobile phone markets with Android, Google’s mobile phone company and I-phone, Apple’s mobile company. As the picture reveals these two companies have most of the share in the mobile phone industry which has lead to a large rivalry between the two. So far Google has the slight edge over apple in that department.
    Due to the amount of time people spend on their on their smartphones, “In May 2015, Google confirmed that mobile search queries overtook desktop queries.” This shows the progression of people moving toward their mobile devices. This has created the lucrative market of the mobile search. Although this seems like an insignificant thing but mobile searches bring in a lot of revenue for the search companies the more people are on it. So if apple makes its own search engine then they are not helping google income.

  5. Joshua Gavin April 10, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    This article was very fascinating especially considering the framework of the current smartphone landscape. I was shocked to see that Android was outselling iPhones considering that I know very few people that own Androids. What makes it more fascinating is the fact that google searches are being done far more on iPhones then on Android devices. This leads me to believe that those who own iPhones are using their device in a much more multifaceted way. Conversely though if I were Apple I would consider not trying to enter the search fray. Google has a stranglehold on web searches that is not going away anytime soon. As someone who prefers the look and feel of Apples mobile platforms, I would rather go to google then deal with another software companies search tool. As can be seen in Microsofts massive failure that was Bing Apple needs to cut their losses and let Google be the search engine that drives the web. This reeks of a company out of innovation, and pitting yourself against arguably the most powerful company on the internet does not bode well.

  6. Gianna Prosperi April 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    This article was both interesting and relevant. Mobile devices have taken over today’s culture and our everyday lives. However, I was surprised to read that Android’s are now outselling iPhones. It is almost hard to believe, because of how many people have iPhones and how very common they are among teens and young adults. Everyone I know, for the most part, owns an apple iPhone. What is even more shocking, is that google searches are done more on apple products, rather than android smart phones. Google has remained the top search engine for a while now, so I guess that shouldn’t be to surprising considering everyone usually goes straight to google to have their questions answered and search for multiple kinds of things.

  7. Sarah C. April 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    I found this article nto only interesting, but relevant to today’s society. Mobile devices are apart of everyone’s lives and have even come apart of our culture. I found it interesting to learn that IPhones are being outsold by Andriods. I think I found this interesting because most people I know own IPhones. However, I assume this poll is not just from America. I think that in Eastern countries Andrioids are more popular. It was also interesting to read the google searches are mostly done on apple products. I did however realized that the Apple IOS is connected to google, so an automatic Gooogle Search will pop up when using these devices.
    I remember whent here was a time that Google had created their own phone. Google was trying to compete with Apple. Google had an issue with creating more apps that Apple though. Apple has always been ahead of the curb with creating applications. It is hard to come into the market, especially when there is a name like Apple that is hard to compete with and has alot of devoted fans and customers.

  8. Morgan Cole April 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    Having a cell phone is extremely convenient for many aspects of life. Organizing our lives, communicating with friends and family, emailing co workers. The tasks we can complete simply with our cellphones has become endless. Searching for information is also something that has changed the way we find things. We can now easily and conveniently open our internet app and search for the information we need.

    The problem that this article is talking about is the fight over the ultimate search engine. The author explains, “75% of Google’s mobile search revenue comes from iOS.” Currently when searching on an iPhone, the search goes through Google. The problem is that if Apple were to create their own way to generate revenue through their own search engine, Google would be “losing their most valuable mobile revenue source.”

    I think that this problem only effects Google. Apple is currently being generous and allowing Google to provide mobile search services through Apple. When and if they create their own search services, Google will lose that contract and millions of users. I also think that it will not effect Google too drastically, as the article states, “Android has nearly 2 billion smartphones in circulation while iOS has roughly 450 million.”. Google is still maintaining customers and revenues through their products and they are not likely to lose that.

  9. Bianca Vigo April 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    We all know that iPhones and androids are basically at war but in my opinion, iPhones are better than androids. Both devices are currently at the top of the chart in demand for phones. Not being biased because I own an iPhone but prior to, I owned an android but ever since I made that switch my life has been so much better in terms of organizing, good camera quality, battery life and storage. Don’t get me wrong, iPhones do die fast but it takes approximately three months from my observation before my iPhone 6s battery becomes sucky so yes I’m currently at that stage. However, it also depends on how frequent you use it, I play music a lot especially since I commute to school so that’s what gets me through my two (2) hour plus commute weekly. Other than that I’d say purchasing an iPhone was one of my best investments.
    This article speaks about cellular devices are being used more to search the internet, well this is because they are always at reach. Either in our hands, pockets or bags. I agree that the percentage of people who use their phones to search more than other devices will tremendously increase just because they are always at reach. Google is the best search engine known, it is also mostly used because it literally has everything. Google is trying to compete with the iOS software but they don’t offer the same level of app indexing as Apple can so until then it is hard for them to do so. The article mentions that apple has a clear advantage in the app indexing cause because they control the more valuable operating system and core app framework which is a major essential. What that does to google now is creating major completion and now they’ll have to do sustainably more work to ensure the app data is indexed and surfaced in a relevant way to maintain parity according to the article.
    The article also informed us about what to expect for the future such as looking out for constant releases, unannounced software updates as well as launches from the phone market such as iPhones androids, Sony’s, Nokias etc.
    What the software developers need to focus on is the bugs which are situated with the updates. Apple is one known for the constant bug fixing updates because they are in such a hurry to release them just to stay on top of the phone market, they fail to take into consideration the bugs which cause the phones to crash and that is where their ratings go down.

  10. Bianca Vigo April 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    We all know that iPhones and androids are basically at war but in my opinion, iPhones are better than androids. Both devices are currently at the top of the chart in demand for phones. Not being biased because I own an iPhone but prior to, I owned an android but ever since I made that switch my life has been so much better in terms of organizing, good camera quality, battery life, and storage. Don’t get me wrong, iPhones do die fast but it takes approximately three months from my observation before my iPhone 6s battery becomes sucky so yes I’m currently at that stage. However, it also depends on how frequent you use it, I play music a lot especially since I commute to school so that’s what gets me through my two (2) hour plus commute weekly. Other than that I’d say purchasing an iPhone was one of my best investments.
    This article speaks about cellular devices are being used more to search the internet, well this is because they are always at reach. Either in our hands, pockets or bags. I agree that the percentage of people who use their phones to search more than other devices will tremendously increase just because they are always at reach. Google is the best search engine known, it is also mostly used because it literally has everything. Google is trying to compete with the iOS software but they don’t offer the same level of app indexing as Apple can so until then it is hard for them to do so. The article mentions that apple has a clear advantage in the app indexing cause because they control the more valuable operating system and core app framework which is a major essential. What that does to google now is creating major completion and now they’ll have to do sustainably more work to ensure the app data is indexed and surfaced in a relevant way to maintain parity according to the article.
    The article also informed us about what to expect for the future such as looking out for constant releases, unannounced software updates as well as launches from the phone market such as iPhones androids, Sony’s, Nokia etc.
    What the software developers need to focus on are the bugs which are situated with the updates. Apple is one known for the constant bug fixing updates because they are in such a hurry to release them just to stay on top of the phone market, they fail to take into consideration the bugs which cause the phones to crash and that is where their ratings go down.

  11. Vincent DeBartolomeis April 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Many people are aware of the war between Apple and Android (or Google) in their fight to be develop the best smart phone. But what most people do not realize is that this war for mobile search is at the center of this debate. Mobile search is incredibly valuable to these companies because it allows for the company to sell the information found through mobile search to advertising companies trying to reach the right audience. Right now, Apple is kind of playing catch-up to Google because they have far less users on their operating system and the users that do have iOS will still use Google for mobile search. However, there are two things that are keeping Apple close to closing out Google. The first is that iOS users are incredibly valuable to Google and second is that Apple is very close to developing their own search icon that could compete with Google search. If Apple is able to do this, then Google will be left further behind in the mobile search battle. There is speculation that this search feature might be ready as soon as iOS 10.
    One thing that really stuck out to me was how much more Android devices were in circulation compared to iPhones. A large majority of the people that I know have iPhones so this kind of came as a shock to me. My guess would be that most of the Android devices are being used in lesser developed countries because iPhones are more expensive and there are some very inexpensive Android phones. I have always owned an iPhone since smart phones came out but a couple of weeks ago I was forced to use an older Android phone for a couple of weeks after my iPhone broke and I felt like it was the hardest thing to deal with. I had always heard that the operating system on Apple was easy to understand and seamlessly designed but I never fully understood it until I saw the other option. I kept on using the voice command button to figure out how to open different icons or apps and all I wanted was to get my iPhone back. I think that the operating system is also a big reason why Google and Android seem to stay a step behind Apple. The Android OS is a lot more complicated and harder to learn than the iPhone where everything is kind of just right in front of you.
    Another thing that I thought was interesting in the article was how it pointed out how Apple has used the App Store and the success of apps there as information for their next operating system. From Google Maps to the flashlight app to the news, Apple has begun to put apps that have been very successful in the app store onto their operating system updates and made them directly available to users. It is an incredibly effective tool to be able to see what the people want.
    Overall, it will be interesting to see where Apple goes from here with their search engine and to see how or if Google is able to respond to their advancement.

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