Google Search Popularity & Niche Vertical Channel Shares
Hitwise’s Bill Tancer has published a study of the popularity of the major Google services on the Hitwise blog. A chart published by Hitwise shows the 20 most popular Google channels, from normal Google Web Search to Google Local and Google Labs.
While traditional search oriented channels such as Image Search, Google News and Local Search via Google Maps show strong usage, the latest Google ‘portal’ launches such as Google Calendar and Finance have been a bit slow to take off.
Interestingly, some of the latest Google offerings have yet to capture significant market share in their category (Google Finance currently ranks 39th in the Business & Finance – Business Information category, with 0.29% market share of visits to the category, Yahoo! Finance in contrast, ranks #1 in the same category with 35.6% of market share).
Local search and media analyst Greg Sterling says that the slow adoption of Google’s more vertical targeted channels are the fueling force behind Google Co-op & Google Base, which brings vertical content to the end user where they are most comfortable when using Google – in the search results.
The marketplace is sort of compelling Google to “verticalize” in order to better satisfy user queries and provide a richer, more structured search experience. (There are also clear advertiser benefits to this.) Yet building out separate vertical domain after separate vertical domain apparently isn’t “working” for Google — in the sense of direct navigation and adoption.
That’s why we may have Co-op, the all-purpose vertical generator, vs. separate sites for each conceivable vertical: e.g., Google Autos, Google Jobs, Google Houses, etc. Indeed, Base and Co-op are working the same “problem” for Google from two different angles.
… This “one box” approach isn’t incompatible with separate vertical destinations; for example, shopping query results tease Froogle, news-related queries that tease News, local queries tease Maps, finance-related queries tease Finance and so on. But it would appear that going forward Google is going to keep more users within the “Google.com” environment and build more vertical experiences directly into that.