This topic has probably been discussed a million times, but it’s fascinating to see how no other company has been as protected as Google in their respective verticals.
Google feeds on human curiosity or lack of information. What differentiates humans from animals is the capacity to reason. And with reasoning comes thinking and questioning. Humans are always looking for answers. Therefore, searching is intrinsic to humans.
As more and more people get online, obviously more of them will learn about Google and use it. It’s been a verb for the past decade or more. However, Google does not need to increase their user base as much as it needs people to find answers. But answers and questions beget more answers and questions. Google organizes information into the best known form to humans. Therefore, with new and better information, using Google becomes substantially better.
It’s the same reason you mindlessly browse Wikipedia – as you learn about something, your mind wants to keep learning. It’s almost addictive.
You cannot say the same about other platforms, like Facebook, who sell advertising. Facebook, for example, feeds off of people seeking to be entertained and they do a fantastic job at it (FB app & Instagram). However, similarly, Youtube, Twitch, Pinterest, Snapchat, and now TikTok, do it very well as well. They all attack the same market, the attention market. Whereas Google attacks the information market. In my opinion, the latter being a more sustainable one.
Two different markets both by size and user behavior. Forms of entertainment are always evolving, whereas forms of finding information haven’t changed much in the past few decades.
For example, before computers, if you wanted to search for something you’d go to libraries and find the books that contained what you were looking for. Searching for information has barely changed since the late 1990′s
Entertainment, however, comes in different forms. Many decades ago, we started with theatrics, circuses, and other forms of entertainment. We then got photography, motion pictures, television, and video games. Then the computer came and we could interact with all the previous entertainment formats, and in addition we could interact with other humans over the internet.
Eventually, the smartphone arrived and it’s become a better version of the computer. Again allowing us to access entertainment in all shapes and forms. This means we see entertainment adjusting to new platforms and formats as fast as we develop new technology. Thus, companies like Facebook have to evolve as fast as new technology arrives. If they, or any of the other incumbents, miss a technological advance once they may end up in the graveyard.
This only means two things, either the future will be the same and Google will keep amassing most searches and the market, or perhaps we’re closer to a new form of finding information in which searching on Google is not the primary way to lookup information.
It seems more of the former than the latter.