Google has truly become a sort of omniscient corporate entity. From ventures in all kinds of fields and sectors, the search engine company that launched from a garage in California has transformed into one behemoth of a conglomerate, pervading every aspect of our lives.
From internet advertising to compiling the cumulative knowledge of the internet in its engine, to investing in transportation and health, Google has reached an unprecedented level of involvement in our lives.
Yet, China has always been unstable territory for the American corporation, when they eventually left in 2010. Refusing to censor their search result as per the Chinese government's request, the company has yet to return to the country of 1.4 billion.
The Middle East and North Africa, while housing a lesser 400 million people or so, has been a different situation for Google, yet a lucrative one.
Google is king in the MENA region
According to research by Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi), a digital marketing consultancy in the Middle East, Google is the undisputed king of search engines in the Middle East, with 97% market share.
The same research shows that Arabic has 41.7% internet penetration, yet less than 1% of all content online is in Arabic.
Google is working to alleviate this situation.
Google pushing through in MENA markets
Google has just revealed that they will be launching an organic, integrated job listing service in their standard search engine. The feature will be available to users in 15 countries across the Middle East: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
In a win-win situation for all involved, Google partnered with 11 local and regional job portals from across the MENA region which include: Bayt, WUZZUF, Forasna, Emploitic, Novojob, Rekrute, Jobzella, Wzayef, Akhtaboot, Laimoon, and GulfTalent.
Results from these sites already appeared in Google search results, but with Google’s new integrated and optimized interface, the transition from Google to these sites will be seamless and much more user-friendly.
The company explains that this is the latest in a string of updates from Google for its Arabic Search engine this year following the launch of Ramadan features, the World Cup experience, and Google Posts.
Jobs Search Trends in MENA
Google Trends data indicates that there has been a consistent growth in the number of job-related queries conducted in Arabic. According to Google Trends, in the past five years, Arabic job-related queries trended the most during August 2015. The data also indicates that search interest in jobs often spikes in the summer months, as shown by data from 2017.
Google’s internal data show a variety of job preferences across the region. In the UAE, jobs in education, nutrition, and travel trended the most in 2017. In Saudi Arabia, civil service, journalism, and the public sector were the highest on the list. While in Egypt, people looked for jobs in transportation, engineering, and law.
Google to renege its decision on censorship, and return to China?
According to Kai-Fu Lee, Google China's former president, before his company left, they had secured a 24% share of the market. Now, the American conglomerate could be looking to reclaim its place in that market.
Last month, online news publication The Intercept reported that the company is looking to go back on its stance on censorship in China, in an effort to tap the Chinese market.
Lee, however, believes it’s too late for Google to reclaim its spot in the search engine market. He believes their autonomous vehicle project Waymo could be their way back into China.