Google's hold on market 'damaging'

Google's dominance of the UK search-engine market is unhealthy, according to research by internet marketing strategy firm,

Fifty-four per cent of all UK companies who responded to the three-week online survey in March believed the search giant had a damaging hold over the UK marketplace. Sixty per cent thought this posed some sort of threat to businesses.

Google attracts 80 per cent of UK searches, according to competitive intelligence firm Hitwise. Participants voted it the best search engine across categories including return on investment and quality of traffic, bounds ahead of competitors Yahoo! and MSN.

But its success is double-edged for many who consider an overreliance on the search engine risky. Advertisers would like to see other search engines stepping up their game.

"For Google it's mixed news," said Linus Gregoriadis, head of research for E-consultancy. "It's a warning sign for them that the majority of businesses think it's unhealthy there's no competition in the marketplace."

A Google spokesman said: "We have a fast, reliable and accurate search product that many people have come to trust and we value that. But we don't take it for granted. We welcome and believe in competition because it ensures companies like us continue to keep innovating."

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