Imagine a world without Google…
As you will probably have seen by now, the Number 1 spot in our 18 years ‘Digital Milestones’ white paper (read the full report here, or our blog about the top 10 here) was taken by – no surprises for guessing – the launch of Google. Beating Facebook, Web 2.0, Twitter, the iPhone and more, the launch of the world’s most powerful website was agreed upon by almost everyone we spoke to as being THE game-changer in digital.
As a business we have worked in search for the past 18 years so Google’s launch has been fundamental to the continued success of our business. Whilst SEO was possible before Google (we should know – we were doing it!), the landscape and future of the discipline was irrevocably changed when the ‘Big G’ began to dominate the marketplace.
But let’s not underestimate the impact Google has had over the years. Whilst some people argue that they need to stay focussed on search, Google have launched a wealth of other services over the years. It’s fair to say they’ve actually had an impact on far more than just search.
Let’s have an “It’s a Wonderful Life” style look at what the world might be like without Google…
Whilst Google+ certainly hasn’t been a game-changer let’s not forget Google’s original foray in to social networking – Orkut. Launched in 2004, way before Facebook, Orkut became so popular in South America that Google eventually shifted its operations from California to Brazil. With a launch which was only beaten by MySpace, Orkut’s initial popularity doubtless had an effect on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, so a world without Google may well be a world with a very different social media landscape.
Back when Google bought YouTube, it was just over 18 months old, played around 100 million videos each day and enjoyed an estimated 72 million visitors a month. Fast forward to today, and with Google’s massive investment in growing and expanding YouTube, they today receive over 1 BILLION visitors a month – who cumulatively watch over 6 billion hours of Video.
Whilst it’s anybody’s guess what would have happened to YouTube without Google, the integration of video into their world-beating search platform has almost certainly grown their visitors way beyond what they might have achieved with another acquirer. YouTube is now the second most used search engine (after Google itself) and has deals with all the major movie and TV studios. They’re even making their own TV shows and movies. In a world without Google, video certainly wouldn’t be the all-encompassing beast it is today.
Maps existed long before Google but the combination of Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Streetview has made a huge impression on the online mapping industry. If Google hadn’t come to pass, the most likely ‘King’ of mapping would be Microsoft (who would probably still be pushing MSN search..) or maybe even Apple… And we all know where Apple Maps get you…
Whilst Apple’s iPhone seems to get a lot of the headlines, Google Android is the world’s most used mobile operating system. At the end of 2012, Android had an amazing 75% market share in smart phones – with 900 million ‘active’ Android devices, according to Google themselves. Second place goes to Apple’s iOS platform, so if Google weren’t around the smart money would be on them having the gold medal in the world of mobile devices.
When Google Mail launched in 2004, the world of free online email was revolutionised. One of Google’s most well-received launches to date, it completely changed how we view online email services – prior to launch we were all still obsessing over Microsoft Hotmail and other ‘free’ services – services which gave you very little storage, were riddled with spam and even suggested you upgrade to their paid options. Imagine that – paying for email! We must have been mad…
Those are just five examples of the impact Google has had on the digital world but there are many more.
As we celebrate our 18th birthday we all agree that the launch of Google changed our world (and our business) like no other event since 1995.
Happy birthday to us