Is Google losing its hold on the search market?

GoogleTo most people, Google is the definitive search engine. It’s even become ingrained in our day to day vocabulary – most of us barely go a day without using it as a verb (“I’ll just google it!”) and it’s even listed as such in the Oxford English Dictionary.

However, new figures from Experian Hitwise indicate that Google could be losing its iron clad grip on the search engine market, as its market share dropped below 90% for the second month in a row. Google’s share of the search market is now 88%, and whilst this means that it is still dominating a significant percentage of searches, this is its lowest point for five years.

The news comes just days after social media platform Facebook announced the launch of its very own search engine, a “graph” system based on natural searches of information shared between users. Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was quick to explain that their new offering isn’t intended to challenge Google – “We’re not indexing the web…We’re indexing our map of the graph” – it will almost certainly make a difference to the way consumers search for information.

It seems that the shape of search is changing; whilst Google is still top dog at the moment, Experian Hitwise’s statistics suggest other sites like Microsoft and Yahoo! are beginning to claw their way back. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on SEO – particularly if social sites continue to enter the search market too.