Royal Pingdom provides some insight into just how big Google's purview is online at a time when the FTC and DOJ may be looking to crack down on the search engine for antitrust concerns.
via Bloomberg April 5, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is mulling a
broad antitrust investigation of Google's search business.
However, the FTC could also compete with the Justice
Department on a broader probe of Google. After all, the DOJ's case against
Microsoft made or burnished many careers and the FTC and DOJ both have experts
capable of analyzing the Internet market as Google has helped define it. Or so
If the FTC or DOJ are really going to fire an antitrust
investigation broadside at Google, they wouldn't be able to argue that the
search engine locks users in the way Microsoft did with its software bundling
scheme a decade ago. Google correctly argues that search engines such
Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo are just a click away.
Rather, it might be more prudent to look at Google's
overall dominance on the Web.
Let's be clear here: the complaints of a handful of
vertical search engines and advertisers that Google isn't playing fairly may be
a nice conversation starter for an antitrust investigation by the
and the state of Texas
, but it might not be sustainable for a gross anti-competition
claim by the FTC or DOJ.
So where might the FTC look? How about Google's massive
purview online? New research from Royal Pingdom underscores
just how massive Google's might has grown online, starting with
search and extending its tendrils on the Web via dozens of Web services.
Let's summarize the key data points from Royal Pingdom's
Google has 21 of the Alexa top 100 Websites in overall
traffic. Google.com is No. 1, possibly with 1 billion searchers, followed by
YouTube.com at No. 3 (500 million users a month) and Blogger.com (400 million
blog readers) at No. 5.
StatCounter says Google has 90 percent of the search
engine market. The default search engine for Android smartphones and Apple's
iPhone, Google has 97 percent mobile search share. Overall, Google is believed
to have 1 billion searchers.
Speaking of Android, 33 percent of U.S. smartphone users
an Android handset, with 10 million new gadgets activated each month. As
the veritable Microsoft Windows for Google's mobile ambitions, Android's reach can't be understated.
Google Maps is the Web's most popular map service on the
desktop and smartphones, where it is the default mapping app on the iPhone, (and
iPad and iPod touch), as well as on most Android smartphones and tablets.
Google's Gmail reportedly has between 150 and 200 million
users. Google Apps has more than 30 million users, including 3 million-plus
businesses. Google's Chrome Web browser commands
11.5 percent market share, and
reportedly has well over 120 million users.
"Google's entire user base should be somewhere
between 1 and 1.5 billion, depending on how conservative you want to be,"
according to Royal Pingdom.
"Google.com alone would be impressive. Add to
it all the other Web properties we've listed in this article and it quickly
becomes obvious that Google is still very much the king of the Internet."
"King of the Internet" may read like so much
hyperbole, but it's also the kind of language federal prosecutors at the FTC or
DOJ could use to argue Google rules like a monarchy online, not unlike the way
Microsoft rules the desktop today.
Except the FTC and DOJ will use a different "M"
word to make their case: Monopoly. The question is, how do they prove their
point when the argument against is that the competition is just a click away?