Remember when Microsoft owned the Web and for that matter computers as well as the Internet? Remember when there was only Internet Explorer and no Firefox? Remember when the only computing platform was Microsoft Office? Not so long ago was it, but now things are very different. Firefox has a distinct growing percentage of the browsing market, Macs are more common place, Open Office and Cloud computing are starting to become mainstream.
Now take a look at Google. Google used to, and for that matter is for right now, the dominant search engine and pay per click platform, but that will change. You have to look no farther than the model of Microsoft’s dominance and what is happening now in the news to know that Google is losing it’s grip on owning the world of search.
Some of Google’s thorns are Facebook, Bing, and the lack of true innovation within its own kingdom. When was the last time you saw one of Google’s new products hit the market make a big splash and be widely embraced? It’s been a while! Remember the flops: Friend Connect, Orkut, Google Wave, Google Buzz? Their last big hit was GMail and they drove traffic there by requiring everyone to set up a GMail account to use any Google products including AdWords when it first came out thereby pushing up initial membership.
Now let’s look at Microsoft. As this giant has aged, it has mellowed. It has grudgingly embraced, but embraced never the less, change. It has adapted and ended up creating better products with greater inclusion and transparency. Google is in a stat of flux, right now it is trying to grasp on to its glory days but may want to look at the Microsoft model to see how it may be able to stay vital yet play more as a partner and not as a desperate bully.
The search engine wars just started up again this past week as Google accused Bing of stealing its search results. So let’s dig into this and see if that was really the case.
First, I want to say that I feel that Google is running scared. There was the quick switch of Google CEOs recently and not just to any person but to one of the original Google founders. Then there was the bad news of Facebook overtaking Google in terms of popularity. Right on the coat tails of all of this news Google stated that they had inserted code into their search results and had found their bait in the Bing results.
Bing responded with a resounding “NO” and the conflict ramped up considerably between the two search engines with key engineers appearing on the Web in videos discussing the situation and the blogosphere dissecting both responses.
What happened in a nutshell is that Google inserted in their results a set of characters (that don’t even spell a word) and then found that same set of characters in Bing results. I don’t think this admits Bing is stealing Google’s results, as Bing states that their search results reflect a historical pattern of searchers use and click through rates as well a their own patented algorithm, but Google just does not see it this way.
With Google losing placement and retention of its stranglehold on popularity brace yourself for more paranoid statements and litigation as the two search engines start to reveal exactly what information they are collecting on us and how they integrate this information into their search results.
ComScore released the search market share results recently showing a nice increase in Bing’s market share. Bing has now hit over 10% of market share with Yahoo dropping to about 17%. That still leaves Google as the dominant player with over 65% market share.
What I find interesting is the feedback on Bing. Some of our writers use Bing first for writing research as the search results are more oriented to information than some of the spammy results for searches found on Google. Clients like Bing and are focused more on organic performance there. It appears that slowly the shift in consumer viewpoint and use of Bing is positively increasing.
Remember when Firefox was new and only 5% of the browser market? Look where Firefox is now a mainstream browser that is the first choice of many business networks and users worldwide. Could acceptance of Bing be headed in this same direction?
Personally I like the Bing interface it is clean, uncluttered and provides quality search results. It will be interesting to see if Google’s new Caffeine update addresses some of these issues and improves quality and has some of the most likable Bing tweaks.