What Would Success for New Search Engines Look Like?

Since the early 2000s, Google has been the most popularly used search engine across the world. Over this period, from being just another typical Silicon Valley startup and longshot to becoming the protector of the internet, controlling algorithms with enormous business implications and building a reputation for spreading its business into various areas in the name of offering an improved user experience.

In recent times, the increased inspection over its business practices has resulted in government regulators getting tough on anticipated wrongdoings, and a fraction of users have also demonstrated a little inclination towards a more privacy-oriented search experience. Google is also facing opposition from other search engines regarding how it is presenting search engine alternatives to Android users in Europe.

This wave of opposition to the market leader may develop favorable conditions for other search engines to contend themselves. New search engines, Neeva, founded by the former Senior Vice President of Google Ads, and You.com, founded by Richard Socher, former Chief at Salesforce, have been announced this year. While snatching away a considerable fraction of search market share from Google may be a part of their overall objective, becoming successful as a new search engine is subject to a lot of factors and may occur in a subtle form.


In the past several years, Google has been facing increased inspection over its alleged anti-competitive practices in different parts of the world. Back in 2018, the European Commission hit Google with the largest antitrust fine ever of roughly $5 billion. And just a year before, the EC had penalized Google with a $2.7 billion fine for favoring its own content in the SERPs.

But this is not it. It is alleged that Google is using its contracts and market power to neutralize the competitors, and the Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine giant for the same at the federal level.

However, if it is found that Google did engage in anti-competitive strategies, then the question moves on to solutions.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust issued a lengthy report recommending various potential solutions, including “structural separation” in an attempt to re-establish competition. However, the company is projecting confidence and might take the dispute to court.

In case that happens, it will still take at least two years before any initial judgment comes out, and even after that, Google may pursue an appeal. Nevertheless, with the investigation over the company’s superior position in the market, reaching a turning point, potential competitors have eventually begun emerging from the thicket and trying to stand out from the market leader.


Considering the position that Google occupies in the market today, the number of users it boasts, and how it has established itself as a crucial part of our everyday lives, it seems a bit irrational. Honestly speaking, developing a search engine that could really go head-to-head with the search engine giant itself would mean that it should at the very least offer the same experience to the users, i.e., relevant, fast, handy, and cognitively low load search results. And let’s suppose the rival search engine actually manages to offer as good an experience as Google, it would also need to get those billions of users to trust them rapidly who today wildly favor Google. But the latter seems more plausible considering how Google is shifting from being the beloved startup to becoming the evil empire over the last couple of years.

Besides, building a search engine that can compete with Google is impossible without having access to the kind of data they do. They know what users clicked, liked, or disliked, what they found most relevant to what queries, and so on. Users turn to search engines for queries, and Google, over all these years, has gathered an enormous amount of data like no other. In addition to all this, the quality of search results matters too. And it would take years for a new search engine to be able to accumulate that kind of data.

Despite the bar being so high, these two search engines (Neeva and You.com) still believe that there are some areas of opportunities that Google hasn’t tapped into yet. In fact, they have already attracted investment towards that cause too. While undoubtedly it is a good thing, it is highly improbable to level the playing field with funding. Because let’s be honest here, even with Microsoft’s immense resources, Bing mostly failed to win over users or digital marketers from Google.


Rather than focusing on creating a search engine that could go head-to-head with Google, the goal could be to develop a powerful team of users who are interested in creating their own corner of the web. Moreover, this strategy won’t require the search engine to gather billions of users like Google in order to become successful.

The search engine DuckDuckGo uses a similar strategy to stand apart from the others and appeal to the user group who wants more privacy online. In fact, DuckDuckGo observed an all-time high number of monthly search queries, which was almost 2.4 billion last month. However, it is still far behind Google, which boasts more than 3.5 billion search queries per day.

Neeva will be offering a subscription-based service, which, according to reports, will cost less than $10 every month after its launch. The search engine strives to offer a personalized yet ad-free search experience to its users. There are chances that it may not need to overcome a lot of technological obstacles since it will be leveraging the existing data sources (such as Bing search results, Apple Maps, and weather.com) and content. This might help Neeva save a lot on its development budget while starting out. If the company successfully manages to captivate enough subscribers, it plans to reduce its monthly charges, making it an even more appealing alternative search engine for users.

On the other hand, the newly introduced search engine You.com hasn’t announced the exact details yet, but its website hints that it would help users with their buying decisions. Moreover, its early access survey also asks users several questions relevant to eCommerce.

While we don’t have enough information about it yet, if You.com plans to become an eCommerce player, it will have to go head-to-head with the eCommerce giant Amazon. Competing with Amazon is again a big challenge — from the scale of operators, particularly on the shipping and delivery side, to captivating enough investment to endure the continuous price wars that Amazon would happily engage in.

However, distinguishing itself in the eCommerce sector is still a more realistic path. There are still some features that You.com could introduce just like other eCommerce sites such as eBay, Etsy, etc. have managed to build a unique identity for themselves in their niches.


The growth of the potential Google or Amazon competitors, in the long run, will, to some extent, rely on how successfully they are able to capture a substantial audience initially. It is hard to predict anything as of now since neither Neeva nor You.com have revealed more details or any expected launch date.

While their ‘secret ingredient’ as they revealed, is recognizing those audiences with specific needs that the search engine giant itself has failed to address yet seems like a good start, they shouldn’t have revealed it so early, at least until their launch. This might backfire. There are good chances that the users will continue using Google like they usually do, but use Neeva or You.com for particular purposes. But if the companies are able to retain the same level of focus, they could have a chance at becoming successful.


With more feasible competitors coming into existence, the users and marketers will have more options, but this might also somewhat impact Google’s own strategy. Google may be compelled to react by catering more to users and SEO professionals’ preferences, which might ultimately upgrade the landscape for everybody.

With the rise of competitors, specific innovations may spark new innovations or implementations by Google. The impact on Google is unlikely to become visible anytime soon, considering that even a large extent of success for the competitors would still mean tiny numbers for Google.

While Google has never actually had a real rival before, they took some pretty sloppy measures when they anticipated one (in Facebook) like launching the social media platform Google Plus which has now vanished. So, as of now, we can only hope that something like that would happen again, which will finally set off an actual search market rather than just a monopoly.

Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for Tireless IT Services. Tireless IT Services is a Digital Marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC, and Web Development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, Web Designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.

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