Despite the proliferation of social media, apps, video streaming, and 10 million blogs about every topic imaginable, search and email still remain the two most popular activities online. When most people think about search and email, one simple word comes to mind: Google.
And as of February 2016, Gmail has officially passed the one billion user mark.
As for search, Google remains as all-powerful as ever. The simple fact is that the vast majority of Internet users depend on Google’s search engine. The company’s paid search advertising remains some of the most valuable advertising real estate online. Even though 70-80% of people ignore those paid ads to click on organic search results, local mobile ad spending alone is expected to pass the $18 billion mark sometime this year.
Because of Google’s incredible reach and user loyalty, the company sets the rules for search engine optimization, be it local SEO or a corporate SEO branding strategy. If you want your website to rank well in searches, then you either have to play by Google’s rules or pay them for advertising. While some critics claim that Google has a monopoly over the search market, the argument hasn’t gained any traction in U.S. courtrooms. If you spend enough time providing search engine optimization services, it’s easy to become a little resentful towards the almighty Google, which wields the power to bend the entire Internet to its will.
So when news broke about a Wikipedia search engine in development, it gave hope to many Google critics and search engine optimization experts. Would genuine competition finally come to the search engine optimization world?
This February, the Wikimedia Foundation finally revealed details on their rumored search engine project, code named Knowledge Engine. The Wikimedia Foundation has already received a $250,000 grant to develop the project, and overall, the first phase of development alone is expected to cost upwards of $2.5 million. Even so, Wikipedia Co-founder Jimmy Wales has so far strongly denied that he’s trying to make a search engine to compete with Google.
Foundation representatives insist the Discovery Engine is only meant to make it easier to find things on Wikimedia related sites, and Wales said suggestions to the contrary are “a total lie.”
He wrote, “To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is proposing that
Of course, that hasn’t stopped the search engine optimization world from wildly speculating about a future Wikipedia-based search engine. But for now, anyone trying to increase visibility with SEO is living in a Google world.