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Impact of Search and the Internet of the Economy by Bhavani Suri

A report dated 13th September 2023 in the Economic Times, India, stated that about $10 million a year is spent by Google to maintain its search engine monopoly. It is a default search engine on web browsers and goes the extra mile to keep that position. With the amount of information gathered through their search field, it can be comfortably said that Alphabet Inc. holds a peculiar sway over the global economy, notwithstanding the United States alone.

Search engines have served as the main gate for the internet for over a quarter of a century. Starting with AltaVista, the first site to allow text searches on the web, up to Google’s search engine, which dominates markets across the world with revenues of $283 billion and a market capitalization of $1.3 trillion in 2022. Thus, Alphabet, today, is one of the most valuable businesses on earth, so much so that Google is used as a verb.

Even a report published eight years ago contained enough evidence to point to the power of the search engine and its effect on the advertising market, which, in turn, prodded economic growth. Search is highly prevalent in nature, so calculating its economic impact poses unique challenges. People who have tried estimating it in the past have depended on SEO, which is worth around $15.7 billion as of 2010 in North America alone. Google gets around $60 billion in ad spend – this can also be called its total economic impact through search, including Adsense, Adwords, and grant programs.

The BEA, however, was the first to publish its estimates in 2018, expanding its coverage across most industries.

The key to search is being found. Digital presence is not a luxury but a necessity.

Today's world is driven by global search, facilitated by internet connection speed, credit card ownership, and the growth of the local and international digital economy. Out of these, the pivotal factor that drives economic change is digital transformation. In other words, if a business is not online, chances are it loses access to a rich database of potential customers.

We are at a fascinating stage of technological advancements, and the digital is driving transformative change. Economic paradigms are simultaneously shifting as new tech changes the face of markets and products, including business and work. With COVID-19 accelerating the pace of technological change, the boundaries of the digital revolution are being pushed by recent developments in artificial intelligence and other associated technologies.

The future is approaching faster than anticipated.

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