Google, King of Search

7 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Paul Farris

Paul Farris

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This survey of Google's rise to prominence as the de facto search engine of choice focuses on the theme of relevance as a guiding principle. As Google has diversified its offering through both organic growth and acquisition, the potential manifestations of relevance have multiplied, to the point where the nature of its market may need to be reassessed.



Aug. 11, 2011

Google, King of Search

In 2010, Google had an 80% market share of the world's Internet searches and over $ 29 billion in revenue. The following year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began an investigation to determine whether Google was abusing its dominance in search advertising. Over the previous 12 years, the corporation had also diversified into a variety of products, from those developed organically, such as Gmail and Google Maps, to large acquisitions, such as YouTube. How had Google become such a powerhouse in just over a decade that it faced antitrust charges? And, with so many products, how exactly should Google's market be defined?

Becoming an Advertising Machine

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google on their initial insight that effective searches relied less on key words than on links, and they emphasized maintaining focus on that core competency (Table 1). Less evident to them was how to monetize the concept. Other search engines had employed banner ads and pop-ups, which they considered intrusive and distracting, so instead, they developed AdWords, simple text-only ads that appeared above and alongside search results, the goal being “for the ads you see on Google to be as useful to you [the internet searcher] as they are to the advertisers.”

. . .

Keywords: market segmentation, cost per click, advertising

Suggested Citation

Farris, Paul, Google, King of Search. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0818, Available at SSRN:

Paul Farris (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-0524 (Phone)


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