Despite its dominance in the western world, Google loses out to local engines in some countries on both search and advertising, it has been reported.
According to NewsWeek, web-savvy South Koreans rarely choose to use Google, with just two per cent of search queries headed to the California-based web giant.
And despite a deal with China Telecom to spread its influence in the country, Google only picks up 17 per cent of queries - a pale imitation of its figures for the western world, such as 82 per cent of searches in Germany.
For worldwide web advertisers, this suggests there are search engines beyond Google which could offer them a better chance of a successful entry or growth into what is as yet an untapped global marketplace.
But it is not just in local area searches that Google is not the best option, as smaller, specialised search engines can give users better results than the Mountain View behemoth on issues such as health or travel.
According to the NewsWeek article, these could present a challenge to Google in the future: "It wouldn't take a smash-hit new search engine to steal Google's thunder; the damage could take the form of a slow leak of searchers to a variety of engines that each have some special appeal."
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