Google’s recent threat to withdraw from the Australian market if the controversial News Media Bargaining Code is turned into law has left many questioning what life without the search giant might look like.
It was revealed last week that the government had been in talks with Microsoft about potentially scaling its search offering Bing to replace Google, should it be required.
And while recent reports have suggested the government and Google might be heading towards a potential deal, the turbulent events of recent weeks have given a glimpse into what life without Google might look like.
With many small businesses relying on Google Search to attract new customers, any such withdrawl from Google could spell immediate trouble for venues such as restaurants and cafes, according to 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,” said Harrison.
“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.”
Restaurants and cafes, in particular, will struggle to build customer bases without Google.
“Restaurants may also find themselves at the mercy of online ordering platforms such as Uber Eats and Menulog in the event of a Google exit. These businesses may struggle to act independently of these platforms, further exacerbating the power imbalance between online delivery platforms and restaurants,” said Harrison.