SWOT analysis of Google (Google SWOT)
This is a detailed SWOT analysis of Google. It examines the strengths and the weaknesses of Google. It also examines the opportunities and the threats facing the company. Google is an American multinational company. It was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998.
Strengths of Google
Google is No. 1 search engine in the world. It has 87.76% of the global market share of the internet search engines (Johnson, 2021). It is far ahead of its nearest competitors such as Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu. According to many analysts, the biggest strength of Google lies in the fact that it is the undisputed leader in the search engine market. Since its beginning, no other company has been able to challenge it to a worrying extent.
Google is a household name around the world. Google Maps, Chrome, YouTube, Chromecast, Pixel 3, Gmail, and Google+ are some of the most popular members of the Google family (Google, 2021). The brand recognition is in fact another great strength of Google.
Android OS is another fabulous service and great success story. Google developed it to use in its different devices. According to Statcounter (2021) its global market share is 72.83%. It was originally developed by Android (a software company) which Google had taken over in 2005. This shows how great Google is in acquisitions, particularly when considered with other examples such as acquisition of YouTube.
YouTube is the biggest video sharing platform in the world. It would surely be a great surprise if that changed anytime soon! Over 100 hours of videos are uploaded on it every minute. It has now become one of the main products of Google.
A key strength of Google is its financial position. Its revenue amounts to $181.69 billion (Johnson, 2021). Unsurprisingly, it has generated majority of the revenues through advertising partnerships with third party websites, blogs, and similar platforms. Its revenue from advertising alone was $146.9 billion in 2020. Its advertising program ‘AdSense’ is used by over 2 million websites and blogs.
Google has a number of competitive advantages over its competitors. For example, it collects a vast amount of information about its users and their search habits through Google Search, Google Analytics, YouTube, Android OS, Chrome, Google Drive, and its other products and services. Google uses this information to maximise its advertising revenues.
Weaknesses of Google
Weakness is an important area of focus in the SWOT analysis of Google. Many critics argue that Google’s over dependence on advertising is a problem even though it is the company’s main source of income. They argue that should there be any dip in advertising revenues, it may cost Google very dearly. In fact, a number of social networking sites are gradually becoming big contenders in the world of advertising.
Google has been criticised over a number of issues. Censorship of search results, anti-trust violations, anti-competitive practices and patent infringement are some of the major concerns that have been raised over the years by many people and organisations.
Some of the Google products fall well behind their competitors. For example, Google+ is not as popular as other social networking sites. This shows that while Google is No. 1 in the world as a search engine, it is not the best in everything it does.
Opportunities for Google
A company such as Google has financial might, market knowledge, and experience to diversify into other areas of business. Google has very good acquisition capabilities and histories (as reflected by its purchase of YouTube) and can benefit further from exploring acquisition opportunities.
Google sees long-term opportunities in its healthcare company Verily and self-driving car unit Waymo. In fact, selling self-driving cars is an exciting opportunity for the company. It also sees further growth opportunities in Cloud Computing, hardware, and YouTube.
Threats to Google
Threat is the last element to address in the SWOT analysis of Google. Google faces a number of challengers in different fields. Its key challengers are Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. Facebook has over 2 billion active monthly users. Therefore, many companies now-a-days prefer Facebook to Google for their advertising campaigns. Likewise, many people go directly to Amazon to shop which reduces the number of product search queries Google can process.
Legal challenges may also turn out to be very costly for Google. For example, the company was fined £3.8bn ($5.1bn) by EU over Android antitrust violations (Rankin, 2018). The European Commission also fined Google £2.1bn ($2.4bn) in 2017 for promoting its own shopping services in search results.
The India’s competition regulator fined Google 36bn rupees (£15.2m; $21.2m) for abusing its dominance in the country. Likewise, France’s antitrust watchdog fined it €500m (£428m) in July 2021 for failing to comply with copyright laws.
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Last update: 18 July 2021
Google (2021) Our products, available at: https://www.google.co.uk/about/products/ (Accessed 14 July 2021)
Rankin, J (2018) Google fined £3.8bn by EU over Android antitrust violations, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/18/google-faces-record-multibillion-fine-from-eu-over-android (26 November 2018)
Johnson, J. (2021) Google’s revenue worldwide from 2002 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars), available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266206/googles-annual-global-revenue/ (Accessed 14 July 2021)
Statcounter (2021) Mobile operating system market share worldwide, available at: https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/worldwide (accessed 15 July 2021)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.