Google Faces A Terrifying Trend

Larry PageReutersGoogle’s Larry Page.

Two and a half years ago we wrote a post headlined “Forget Apple, Forget Facebook: Here’s The One Company That Actually Terrifies Google Execs.”

That company? Amazon.

Google is a search company, but the searches it makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online.

These commercial searches make up about 20% of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are.

Two and a half years ago we wrote, “What Googlers worry about in private is a growing trend among consumers to skip Google altogether, and to just go ahead and search for the product they would like to buy on, or, on mobile in an Amazon app.”

We noted that, according to ComScore, “the trend is real.” Searches on were up 73% year over year.

Well, we checked back with ComScore recently, and the news remains bad for Google. Desktop search queries on Amazon increased 47% between September 2013 and September 2014, according to ComScore.

Even worse for Google, that number doesn’t tell the whole story.

In the past two and a half years, the number of mobile internet users surpassed desktop internet users.

On mobile, using Google as a starting point when you want to buy something makes even less sense.

Think about it. Why go through these steps?

  • Open your web browser on your phone.
  • Google search “bike gloves.”
  • Scan some text links.
  • Click on a link to go to a product page at some e-commerce store.
  • Click to add the item to your cart.
  • Input your credit-card info.
  • Type in your address.
  • Select the shipping preferences you want to pay for.

When you can just … 

  • Open the Amazon app on your phone.
  • Search “bike gloves.”
  • Click one button to buy the product with your usual credit card, and have it shipped to your usual address free.

Two and a half years ago, we wrote that Google’s Amazon nightmare would get scarier if Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and (rumoured) phones ever got wide adoption.

That hasn’t happened yet. Kindle Fire sales are pretty bad. But earlier this month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made it clear in an onstage interview at our BI Ignition conference that he’s not giving up on the project.

Bad news for Google execs trying to get eight hours a night.

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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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