And for those who are thinking quizically, “It can’t be Microsoft Bing, can it?” you’re right, it can’t be.
The truth is that the biggest search rival to Google is … Google. In the guise of YouTube, that is.
Of course YouTube isn’t a search engine – it doesn’t bring back results from the web at large. Nevertheless, the video sharing site logs more searches per month than Yahoo!
This may be obvious to some of you but it was only when reading the recently published Sticks & Stones: How Digital Business Reputations Are Created Over Time and Lost in a Click by Larry Weber (he of PR behemoth Weber Shandwick) that the point struck home.
In the book, Weber cites ComScore numbers. And this is what he found:
- Google logs 7.6bn searches per month
- YouTube logs 2.6bn
- Yahoo! logs 2.4bn
(Incidentally, MySpace and Facebook log 600m and 200m respectively.)
As Weber notes:
Considering that YouTube went live … in February 2005, it’s achieved an incredible record of growth in a very short time.
But in a couple of respects the numbers are worrying. First, they suggest that nobody does video searching well. Instead people are going to the source.
Second, this volume of search logs is indicative of YouTube’s quasi-monopoly of web video.
But YouTube remains the go-to site for video – and it has morphed into a video search engine/destination in one.