Google, who revolutionized the Internet with its search engine, is actually losing some momentum in the mobile search sector. And the misfeasor is the distending world of mobile-apps.
According to the latest findings from analytics firm eMarketer, smartphone and tablet users are increasingly using apps to collect information rather than browser search and mobile search behaviour is becoming less like desktop.
Despite the fact that browser-based search is common amongst users of mobile devices, search engines are not necessarily the first landing place for smartphone and tablet users for finding information. The snowballing of mobile app development and usage means mobile users have more and more apps to use for, with some specialized alternatives for gathering information. For instance, users have been turning to Yelp to find their favourite place to dine and Kayak for travel related information.
Going by the eMarketer figures, Google's mobile ads revenue has drastically reduced 17 percent since 2012. In 2012, Google owned nearly 82.8 percent of the $2.24 billion mobile search market which dropped to 68.5 percent in 2013. Researchers expect it to shrink even more to 65.7 percent in 2014.
The market share lost by Google is apparently grabbed by other players including Yahoo and Bing, apps like Kayak, Shazam and Yelp who has witnessed a dramatic year on year growth in mobile search ad spending. Among them, Yelp saw a staggering 311 percent increase in mobile search ad revenue in 2013, which will grow 136 percent to reach $119.4 million in 2014. Within the next couple of years, Yelp will see its market share of mobile search ad revenue rise to 1.9 percent.
The decline in Google's share in mobile search spending is somewhat unsettling, in spite of the fact that the revenue recorded by the US mobile ad market reached an astonishing $17.73 billion this year; with mobile search spending having jumped to $9.02 billion.
Even though Google still continues to monopolize browser-based searches on mobile devices, the latest eMarketer report has emphasized that the usage of niche search apps is becoming more popular, and these apps are clearly grabbing an incremental market share from Google and other search providers.
On the other hand, Greg Sterling, analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, depicts the eMarketer report in a different way altogether. According to Sterling, the market is getting bigger and there is a lot of money in flow into mobile advertising, but it is being spread around other search players also. But when it comes to revenue Google dominates them all.
Google also suffered another major setback from its long-time rival, Apple. Earlier this week the Cupertino tech giant announced that iOS 8 software will use Microsoft's Bing instead of Google for embedded searches.