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Which Industries Will Be Hit Hardest By A Google-Free Australia?

The threat of Google officially revoking the search engine in Australia may have opened the door for the underappreciated Microsoft-owned Bing.

But there are a number of Aussie industries and businesses which will be hit the hardest by Google’s potential exit Down Under, according to a report by IBISWorld.

As per the report, Google’s withdrawal could devastate industries which are already vulnerable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly restaurants, cafes, hotels and beauty and hairdressing services.

Other services including newspaper publishing and online advertising will suffer too.

“A lack of visibility on Google can be an economic death sentence for small businesses, as this is often a key way to attract customers outside the immediate local area and can be one of the strongest opportunities for growth,” said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst Liam Harrison.

“Google products including Search and Maps are a crucial channel for small businesses to connect with target customers. Google’s exit would disrupt numerous Australian industries, which are already in a weakened state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Zero Google visibility will jeopardise small businesses’ ability to rebuild customers bases during an already critical period.

And although other search engine platforms are eager to step in to fill the gap of Google – such as Bing – this process will certainly not be seamless, the report states.

Many Australian businesses have invested significantly in optimising advertisements and visibility on Google.

Microsoft, the owner of the Bing, has agreed that it would abide by the NMBC if it became the new dominant search provider in the wake of a Google exit, easing fears that the News Media Bargaining Code may cause other search engines to exit.

However, a mass shift towards Bing would take time and resources that businesses would be hesitant to invest without long-term assurances that Google’s exit from the market would be permanent, the report continues.

“If Google were to withdraw from Australia, many Australians would likely adapt and switch to alternative search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo. However, a grey market for Google Search would potentially undermine efforts to implement the NMBC,” added Harrison.

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