Once upon a time, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian Media Theorist, described the world a “Global Village.’’ To think of it now, the claim couldn’t be more accurate. We are so interconnected now, that physical distances are no longer a concern for the modern monetize. Today, it is difficult to imagine a world without the Internet, or more precisely, without Google. The tech Goliath has emerged to be the all-pervading ‘presence’ in our life. In fact, Google is now an Omnipotent Power on the Internet.
The term ‘Google It’ is no less than a slogan for the modern world. You wish to seek an answer to a question (any question, no matter how tough or ridiculous), you reach out to Google Chrome. You want to find the best restaurants or salons or health clinics near you (and the directions to them), you seek the help of Google Maps. You wish to connect with someone over email, Gmail is the first choice. You want to monitor your website traffic and boost your leads, Google Analytics at your rescue! The point here is that we’ve become blind followers of a single tech brand — we don’t stop for a second and think of looking elsewhere.
This reliance on a single ‘we-have-it-all-for-you’ tech giant makes us think of the much-dreaded question — What if one fine day, Google shuts down forever?
Back in August 2013, Google (along with its services) did shut down for around 2–3 minutes. For that brief moment, it was as if life came to a halt — the global internet traffic stooped low by a whopping 40%!
That happened around six years ago. Today, if something like that were to happen, it would cause a worldwide frenzy. The immediate reaction of netizens and businesses around the globe will be:
- Is there something wrong with the internet connection?
- Every other search engine sucks. What to use now?!
- Will Facebook now launch a search engine?
- Does it mean that the Android platform is gone too?
- Does it mean that the Android platform is gone too?
- How to live without Google Maps and Live Traffic Updates?
- Now that YouTube is gone, where to source the best video content?
- How to track and monitor website traffic and other KPIs without Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools?
- How to keep the online business afloat without Google Keyword Planner and Google AdWords?
These are just a handful of questions that will arise in case Google shuts down. This extreme dependency on Google is no surprise. Statista maintains that as of April 2019, Google holds as high as 88.47% of the global search market share, while Bing and Baidu account for 3.13% and 0.66% respectively.
What would it mean for businesses and the market as a whole?
It is a known fact that businesses that are not ‘online’ are missing out on a sea of opportunities. Although there are several online platforms to advertise for business, including Facebook, nothing beats Google. According to Brian Wieser, President of Business Intelligence for GroupM,
“Google has dominance in search, it’s utterly, completely, dominant.”
Since Google harvests user data, it knows all about the trending search words, most searched products/services, and pretty much everything under the sun. In many ways, Google dictates how businesses would interact with and reach out to potential customers. Being the most used search engine, Google gets the maximum amount of visitors each day. It’s a cutthroat competition out there to land one of the top three spots in Google SERPs. Thus, Google’s compelling presence all over the Internet and our lives make it impossible to run a business without advertising on it.
The death of Google would naturally mean a massive loss in the business world. It would wreak havoc in the business world. Why?
- Internet traffic would disappear faster than one can imagine.
- Sales would hit rock bottom, and there’d be no revenue.
- The demand-supply balance would be disrupted, and hence, the market would turn topsy-turvy.
- Stocks of renowned tech/business firms would rapidly dive down, thanks to the falling Internet traffic.
- Marketing analysts wouldn’t know what to do, for there’d be no numbers to crunch.
- With Google out of the scene, advertisers would have to take a huge blow.
- With more and more people crowding other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo, they’d end up crashing these engines.
- Businesses that rely primarily on Google apps for business operations would undergo substantial financial losses.
Long story short, if Google were to shut down someday, businesses would incur unimaginable losses.
What are the biggest challenges that businesses would face in such a scenario?
1. No Google search traffic
With Google taking command of the maximum portion of the glocal search traffic, it entails one thing for businesses — they have to make the most of Google to get the biggest slice of the market share. But with Google gone, businesses can no longer harness the power of Google search traffic.
2. No Google Analytics data
Google Analytics is a tool that is trusted by businesses across the world to deliver the most accurate traffic stats. While there are other alternatives to Google Analytics, the biggest advantage that the latter has over other data services is that it can sync with other Google services to offer a more comprehensive insight on website performance.
3. Adios, Google Search Console!
Just like Google Analytics, Google Search Console (GSC) is another free data service by Google that helps evaluate and boost website performance in SERPs. Innumerable businesses rely on this nifty tool to crawl errors and index your content, detects when your Google is facing spam or any other issues, reflect the various sites that link to your website, evaluate mobile website performance, and so much more. It’s tough to find such a comprehensive tool that can match up to the GSC standard.
4. No Google Keyword Planner & Google Trends to help with keyword research
When it comes to researching keywords or creating successful AdWords campaigns, Google Keyword Planner & Google Trends are the go-to tools of many businesses. The Google Keyword Planner allows you to find local keywords in a jiffy, spy and swipe your competitor’s keywords, get historical stats and traffic forecasts, find new keywords, create Adwords campaigns, and so on. As for Google Trends, it displays the frequency of a particular search term/phrase in Google corresponding to the search engine’s total search volume over a specific period. These tools are immensely helpful for comparative keyword research.
5. Where to put your business, if not the Google Maps?
Google Maps is the most popular map service around. When you want to find or locate something near you, the first thing that you think of is Google Maps. If a business finds a place in Google Maps, it is doing everything right. The advantage that Google Maps has over its rivals is that it can sync with other Google tools & services.
Google Maps allows businesses to attract potential customers through the creation of a free business profile. This includes the website link, address, phone number, directions, street view, and customer reviews. Google My Business allows you to create a business website in minutes. It also helps businesses discover and understand how customers are finding them and interacting with their business. No other Map tool can deliver an all-comprehensive service like Google Maps.
6. The Android platform will take a huge hit
Google’s Android accounts for nearly 75% of the global smartphone market share. Also, Google Play Store is one of the biggest online app stores in the world. So, if a business wishes to make it big on the Android mobile platform, it has to get launched in the Google Play Store. There’s no other way. In such a scenario, if Google shuts down, businesses associated with the Android mobile platform would lose millions of dollars of hard cash.
7. Switching email accounts is a headache
Google’s death would mean Gmail’s death. So, business organizations would have to make the transition to other emailing platforms like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and the like.
With Gmail being the most preferred emailing tool, it’s inevitable that your most important contacts, emails, conversations, attachments, etc., are stored in Gmail. Moving all this data from Gmail to other accounts is an arduous task. And with every other online platform being linked to your Gmail account, the transition only gets more complicated. You not only have to update your email account in every such platform that is linked to your registered Gmail account, but you also have to intimate all your contacts about this change.
Overcoming all these challenges is easier said than done.
Are there no alternatives to Google and its associated services?
By linking all its services with one another, Google has done an incredibly smart job — it has managed to entwine us deeper and deeper into the Googleverse. The result — we’re stuck in a web of tools and services that Google has cleverly built over the years. While Google’s death may seem like Armageddon is upon us, alternatives do exist.
Let’s take a look at some of the alternative to Google products and services!
Google may be beneficial with search queries and everything, truth is, that we avail its services by paying a dear price — our search data. Contrary to this, DuckDuckGo and Startpage value user privacy and function pretty the same way Chrome does. Also, there’s always Bing and Mozilla Firefox to rescue you when Google is down!
The first two alternatives of Gmail that immediately come to mind are the Yahoo Mail or Microsoft Outlook. However, there are other options, as well. ProtonMail is a great choice. Developed by a team of CERN scientists in Switzerland, ProtonMail is highly privacy-centric. Its interface is not only user-friendly, but also has similar labels, folders, and filters like Gmail. Other alternatives are Fastmail, Tutanota, and Hushmail.
Matomo (formerly known as Piwic) is an excellent alternative to Google Analytics. Although the self-hosted platform isn’t as feature-rich as Google Analytics, it is good enough to understand and evaluate website traffic. A plus point of Matomo — you will not be paying with search data!
For desktop searches, HereWeGo makes an excellent alternative to Google Maps. Apart from missing a few countries from its map, it functions almost as good as Google Maps. Also, it loads pretty fast! Users on the mobile platform can use Maps.me. It has a user-friendly interface and even better offline functionality than Google Maps.
Google Drive, Docs, and Photos
The next best alternative to Google Drive/Docs/Photos is NextCloud. It is a feature-rich, open-source suit on cloud. It has a user-friendly experience and interface. However, there’s a catch — to work on NextCloud, you’ll require a host as well as an HTTPS certificate. Granted that opening a NextCloud account is not as easy as Google Drive, it is a good choice. Other open-source alternatives are OwnCloud or OpenStack.
The smartphone scene is entirely controlled and dominated by two tech giants — Android by Google and iOS by Apple. While there were a few alternatives some time ago (such as Blackberry OS), today, it’s a duopoly. Thankfully, there’s Lineage OS, an open-source, privacy-centric platform. The best part — you don’t need services offered by Google or Play Store/App Store to install it.
Although it is true that all the alternatives mentioned above may not be as easygoing, all-comprehensive, and free like Google products, they are worth a shot. In fact, if you ever decide to switch to any of these, you may find some of them to be even better than Google products/services (minus the initial hassle). You may have to sacrifice some features that Google products/services offer; however, with time, you will get used to the new alternatives. The most significant advantage here is that you will be in charge of your data.
What I am trying to say is that the end of Google need not be the end of everything! We can bear it together!
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Author Bio – This article is written by Heena Ansari – A professional content writer, and Digital marketer. She is also Founder of Ytbto that is an online video converter that helps users to download and convert youtube videos to mp3 mp4.