posted by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Fri 3rd Jul 2009 20:24 UTC
IconChances are that you've already heard of and even visited Bing, Microsoft's new search offering launched earlier in June, replacing the Live search of yesterday. It's new, shiny, and has pretty pictures, but does it really have much effect on the market? There have been those headlines claiming it's "taken a bite out of Google," but, looking at the statistics, it hasn't really affected the search industry at all.

It's been going around the web that Bing has won a glorious one percent of Google's market share-- that's what the headlines say, anyway. Taking a closer look, though, we see it's not really that exciting and that it's probably too early to tell one way or the other, anyway.

Though Bing did gain market share in the past month, and Google's market share did decrease, headline-happy journalists are blowing things a bit out of proportion. "Bite" is hardly the word to use, and "nibble" is also probably incorrect as well. According to StatCounter, since the introduction of Bing, Microsoft's share in US searches grew by .42 percent (sorry, rest-of-the-world-- you're again being represented by one country's statistics). According to the same statistics, Google's share dropped by only .24 percent during the same time span.

That's hardly detrimental to Google, and is actually normal and most likely has little to do with Bing. Like stocks, companies' shares in just about everything often go up and down in increments from period to period without any alarm, especially companies with as many customers as Google has. Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, Google's shares in March dropped to 76.49 percent and then climbed back up to 79.08 percent in April-- a bigger difference than this past month.

All in all, the difference in percentages means very little in such a short amount of time. I'm no analyst except for my own personal speculations, but I think it's safe to say that Bing should get six months of being out in the wild before we begin to say it's cannibalizing other search engines.

Speculations

I never used the old Live search before Bing was instituted, but I happened across the main page once or twice, and was surprised to see a few weeks ago when I happened across it once more that it had changed to Bing. For all I can tell, it's the exact same service except under a new name and at a new address. It has the same style of main page with a picture of some place loosely connected with today's date and varied hotspots with tidbits of pop-up information. I'm not one to talk, though, as I never used the search feature before this.

I used the search feature a bit to see what all the hullabaloo was about. The main differences to Google and even Yahoo! beside the colors and icons were that, for one, an additional snippet can be displayed by hovering one's mouse over a dot next to a search result, and two, a search history is displayed on the left-hand side. Bing seems to show general search results, sponsored, links, related searches, and sometimes pictures and other media in a similar fashion as Google. One of the biggest differences, though, was that, for certain search terms, usually general ones such as "dogs," Bing not only lists general results (with a link to go to a longer list of general results), but also lists, for example, "Types of Dogs," "Dog Breeders," "Dog Health," "Dog Diseases," and "Dog Toys--" a seemingly more comprehensive search with more choice. I never used Live search, so I've no idea what's new and what's the same with Bing. One thing is for sure: Bing can't beat Google's street view on maps.

I don't know about others, but I've been using solely Google for years, and more than just the search engine. I'm used to it, I recognize it, and I love it. So far, no other company's similar services have been able to sway me. I don't see Bing being able to take a whole lot of the market in the coming years, but then again, you never know. It's certain that there will be people who find Bing's search more intuitive, and you know what they say: competition is generally a good thing. Will Bing be able to really make a go, though? Hey, they now have Twitter updates of prominent people integrated into Bing searches-- anything could happen.

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