It turns out that Google’s iPhone gamble is paying off in a pretty noticeable way. Despite the phone’s relatively low market share, the New York Times reports that traffic to Google from iPhones has reached “impressive levels”.
Traffic to the search engine surged over the Christmas holiday, likely reflecting all the new iPhones lucky consumers got as gifts either for someone else, or themselves. Most impressive, however, was the fact that over the holiday, traffic to Google from iPhones surpassed that from all other types of mobile devices.
Since the holiday has passed, the figures have slipped a bit, and iPhone traffic to Google is now behind that of mobile devices powered by the Nokia-backed Symbian operating system. Other than Symbian-based phones, the iPhone is still beating out all other types of mobile handsets.
Why is this such a big deal? Considering that the iPhone accounts for just 2% of the world’s smartphone market, that’s a monumental feat. Symbian-based phones have 63% market share, Windows Mobile has 11%, and BlackBerry has 10%.
As an iPhone owner myself, I can see why. The iPhone’s browser is so easy to use, and I constantly find myself surfing the web or looking things up. What likely inspires an increased number of Google searches is also the browser’s dedicated Google search box, which appears just below the address bar. Doing a search through this box allows users to save time by not having to type in Google.com and then conduct a search. The integration of Google Maps also likely drives a fair bit of traffic to the search engine.
According to the NYT, Vic Gundotra, a Google VP overseeing mobile products, said “consumers are going to demand internet browsers” of the quality of Apple’s iPhone. Having used the iPhone’s browser now since its June launch date, I can’t say I’d ever want to go back to anything less than what the iPhone offers me.