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Companies Looking to Challenge Google in Europe

In order to find companies that are looking to challenge Google, we used Crunchbase to identify search engines, since Google is primarily a search engine. We limited our search to the UK and were able to find five different examples of companies that were founded in the UK. Since then, all of them expanded to multiple other markets as well. All the competitors we found are search engines, but all of them have a niche they are challenging Google in, as no companies (except Bing and Yahoo) are trying to challenge Google in the general sphere of being the go-to search engine for all queries. Therefore, we showcase Adzuna which specializes in job searches and is a direct competitor of Google and its Google For Jobs, and Asap54 which is a retail search engine that works based on reverse searching images, combining both of search techniques initially developed by Google. We also look into Lyst, which is the most successful fashion search engine and has been a direct competitor of Google Shopping. Momondo specializes in all things travel and is a direct challenger of Google Flights, praised by the industry for providing better deals than its Google counterpart. Last we look into RefMe which is a direct competitor of Google Scholar, and a search engine targeted towards students and academics.


Adzuna is a search engine directed towards job searches: "We search thousands of websites and bring together over 1 million unique, live jobs in one simple search."

Their success can be seen in the fact they currently have over 10 million unique visitors per month. The search engine is able to search thousands of websites, acting just like Google, but aimed specifically to bring up only job ads. Adzuna says for themselves that they are "providing smarter search options and powerful data about the job market, as well as unique tools like ValueMyCV", which enables them to give information to those who seek a job that will enable them to take control of their careers.

Additional success of the website can be seen in the fact that they were able to expand to 16 countries in just seven years since starting.

In the UK, Adzuna is used by the Prime Minister and senior officials for keeping track of economic growth in the UK.

In Europe, Adzuna was named the fastest-growing job search engine.

In 2014, Adzuna was named one of UK government's Future Fifty. The UK government's Office for National Statistics announced that Adzuna is "the market leader in giving users transparency about UK employment data — showing salary data for thousands of keyword and location combinations."

In 2016, The Sunday Times named Adzuna one of the UK’s 100 fastest-growing private technology companies.

Techcrunch called Adzuna the "next generation jobs search engine", and overall gave them a positive review.

Prominence looked at whether Google For Jobs could end Adzuna, saying that for now only Indeed is in danger. They also speculate about the possibility of Google eventually acquiring Adzuna.

Blueclaw explained that when compared with Google For Jobs, "sites that lack the same levels of brand recognition, such as Fish4 and Adzuna, are forced to compensate by relying on non-branded keywords to compete".


Asap54 is a reverse-search image engine Asap54 that helps people find clothes that they like around them in the physical world. The search engine functions in a way that it enables a person to upload a photo of an item into the search engine, and the engine finds the exact piece, along with a variety of others that are similar. The company was founded in London in April 2013.

Vogue wrote an article about Asap54 after it launched, where the founder of Asap expressed how in just one month after launching, the app was featured on Apple Store as the best app of the week in "over 135 countries for the first two weeks after we launched". They also had over 13,000 downloads in just one week. Asap54 app competes directly with Google Shopping using the reverse search for images, primarily developed by Google.

The company raised over $8 million in funding so far.

The Business of Fashion wrote an article explaining that while revolutionary, Asap54 still has many problems: "On ASAP54, another app using image recognition technology in the fashion space, a search for a pair of tortoiseshell glasses pulled up red mirrored shades and novelty pumpkin spectacles, while a gray cardigan returned a beaded kimono. Other searches were more fortuitous — a navy blue shirt yielded a good selection of blouses and a striped t-shirt surfaced a frenzy of Breton tops. But the victories were few and far between."


Lyst operates as a retail search engine and offers more than 4 million fashion products from 11,000 of the global fashion brands and retailers. The company was founded in London in 2010.

The engine used by 65 million people every year. It raised over $60 million in funding and also has backers that include 14W, Accel Partners, Balderton, Draper Esprit, LVMH, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, and Tory Burch.

Lyst is used by fashion publications and brands to determine their sales data and popularity and is currently deemed the best and most used retail search engine in the world.

Lyst's dominance is the largest when it comes to luxury brands: "Lyst is appearing in the third box for ‘Gucci clothes’, while GUCCI’s Google Shopping activity is nowhere to be seen. However, for their brand term, GUCCI ads take the top spot."


Momondo Group is a specialized search engine for all things travel. It was founded in 1992 in London. Momondo Group is currently operating in 35 countries and in 20 languages. The group specializes in offering travel search and travel information, advice, and tips. They say they currently "generate downstream revenues in excess of £3 billion" for their third-party partners. They also are experiencing double-digit revenue growth year-on-year. The group raised over $153 million in funding.

They bought a number of websites, apps, and services which are put to use in order to enable users to search and compare billions of prices for "flights, hotel rooms, car hire and travel deals around the world".

Travel websites find Momondo to be able to offer cheaper and more nuanced deals compared to Google Flights. Publications that include Frommer's, Travel + Leisure, and Travolution Awards have all named Momondo "the best travel search engine in recent years". Forbes says that Momondo is still unknown to all, and is considered "one of the best-kept travel secrets. Searching on Momondo is considered easier as it allows for more comparison between dates, as well as a more nuanced search between different airports, cities, and airlines.


RefME is the first search engine that is able to accurately automate citations. It allows for users to scan a book bar code using a phone camera and add references with just one click: "Bibliographies can be quickly generated and formatted in over 7000 different styles. All work is backed up and synced to the cloud, so students can access, collaborate, and add to projects anywhere, on any device". It combines two of Google's features — Google Drive and Google Scholar.

The company was founded in London in 2013. So far, they have raised $5 million in funding. It was titled as one of the top 25 apps by Apple in 2015. It is currently used by over 14,000 institutions, and it is considered that 1 in 4 students have RefME on their phone.

RefMe is considered the "world's leading and most accurate multi-platform tool for automating citations, reference lists, and bibliographies." Overall, scholars say this is their go-to website and tool for their citation needs.


Five companies that are challenging Google in the UK are Adzuna, Asap54, Lyst, Momondo, and RefMe.