Google’s Impact in the UK
If you’re like the vast majority of people in this country, you’ll have used a search
engine at some point today: to check a fact or to look up when your GP opens, to
find a restaurant or browse the news. If you have kids at school, they’ll probably have
used either Google Search or YouTube to help with their homework. And at work you
might use Gmail for your email or Google Docs to co-operate on a new report, while
your employer uses Google Ads and Google Search to seek out new customers.
Many of us are doing things that would have been almost impossible in the past
— from communicating in any one of over 100 languages using Google Translate to
exploring the furthest parts of the Scottish Highlands using Google Maps.
It is easy to take a world of more information for granted. 2018 is the twentieth
anniversary of Google Search. Today we live in a world in which access to much
of our collective knowledge is just a click away. Many of the benefits created by
the Internet or search engines do not show up in traditional economics statistics,
which often do not take full account of the full benefits created by saved time or the
opportunities access to information brings. But just because something is hard to
measure, does not mean that is unimportant.
In this report, we explore how Google is helping people have fun, learn and work
At home. Google’s products are used by families to free up time and have more
fun. Every year, two thirds of adults (64%) use YouTube to figure out how to
do DIY, and 60% use it to help them cook. People value online search so much
that the average household would rather lose their car, TV licence or even
an hour’s sleep a night than access to online search. In total, our estimates
suggest that Google services could be creating at least £37 billion in consumer
surplus for British families.
Our findings support the growing view among economists that traditional
economic metrics such as GDP don’t capture the benefits of the digital economy.
At school. Google and YouTube are now an important part of the education
system. We polled parents across the UK and found that every week, more
than half of the school pupils in the country (4 million) use Google to help
with their homework. As adults, Google opens up new ways to learn about the
world: researching the issues lying behind an election, keeping up with local
news, or just seeking a faster answer.
Regardless of age, income, level of education or location, Google’s products
benefit everyone. 88% of British adults use a search engine at least once a day,
which creates a time saving equivalent to an extra bank holiday every year.
At work. Google helps workers and businesses be more productive, better
collaborate and reach new customers. At the same time, Google services are
enabling a new generation of small businesses from independent app developers
to YouTube creators to reach new global audiences. In total, we calculate
Google services are driving at least £55 billion in economic value for the UK
We find that digital services underpin the traditional economy. They act as a
multiplier: boosting productivity, enabling wholly new types of business and
increasing the total size of the economy
Read the report here.