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Mobile-Ready: How Google Has Again Cornered The Market On Search

Thanks to Android boom and strategic mistakes at Microsoft, Bing search is even further behind Google on mobile devices.

Mobile-Ready: How Google Has Again Cornered The Market On Search
Jay Yarow

Here's a quiet bombshell from comScore.

Total core organic desktop search was down on a year over year basis for the fourth straight month in December.

Ben Schachter of Macquarie has the latest comScore stats in a research report. He says mobile and vertical search — retail, travel, social — are killing the traditional desktop search business.

"We estimate that as much as 25-30% of all Internet search traffic could be coming from mobile devices as of year-end. Moreover, in certain categories, such as restaurants, we believe that well more than 30% of queries are already coming from mobile devices (other key categories such as Consumer Electronics, Beauty & Personal, Finance/Insurance, and Autos also have a meaningful share of mobile queries)," says Schachter.

This isn't good news for Google, but it's not entirely bad news either.

The bad news: Mobile search isn't as lucrative for Google as desktop search right now. And on mobile, the importance of apps drives a wedge into Google's search business.

The good news: Google completely dominates search on mobile with something like 90 percent or more of share. It's the default search engine on the iPhone and its default on Android, the most popular mobile operating system. It's well positioned to take advantage of a mobile transition.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is not. It has burned billions trying to make Bing relevant on the desktop. That effort has yielded some positive-ish results.

The latest comScore data gives Bing 16.3 percent of the search market, which is only up from 16.2 percent a year ago. It's had 32 straight months of flat or growing desktop search share. That's good, but it hasn't killed Google, which is near its all time high with 66.7 percent of the desktop search market.

In fact, Bing's relative strength may have helped Google argue that it didn't have a monopoly in search when the FTC investigated it.

That's a minor detail.

The big picture is that Microsoft burned billions fighting for the desktop search market right when the world was preparing to abandon desktop search.

We've reached out to Microsoft and Google for comment, but haven't heard back. When, or if, they say something interesting we'll either update this post or write another story.

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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