Posted by: gregboyko | December 17, 2009

Bing vs. Google and the Search Engine Wars

It’s interesting to watch the marketshare numbers for the search engine market. These numbers are released monthly by several tracking firms, and one thing is clear—in each month since Bing was introduced, its marketshare has increased. Often it is at the expense of Yahoo and/or other lesser-used search engines, however in the most recent month’s reports (as reported here), some of Bing’s gain may be at the expense of Google.

I’ve been watching Bing’s market growth since its June launch. When Bing launched, it inherited the marketshare of its predecessor, Windows Live Search, which was about 8%. Depending on which tracking firm’s numbers you look at, Bing’s marketshare is now somewhere in the neighborhood of 10.5-11%, so on average, Bing is growing at a monthly rate of roughly .4% or .5%. Now, this may not seem like much, but what if the trend continues? If Bing were gain say 6% marketshare per year, that would be 30% in 5 years. Add to this the growth that can be expected from the Yahoo deal, and it’s not unreasonable to think that Bing could have marketshare of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% within 5 years. And if Bing has 50+%, that means that Google will be the number two search engine, rather than the #1 position that they now enjoy.

If anyone thinks that Microsoft is not in search for the long haul, or is not willing to continue to invest heavily in search for 5+ years, they are mistaken. Microsoft does look at the 5+ year timeframe, and with a business a lucrative as search-based advertising, the investment should be well-worth it.

So there you have it. My prediction that Bing will be a strong contender, and may potentially overtake Google as the #1 search engine by December 2014. Of course, Google is not going to be standing still. They will also have to innovate as a result of the threat that Bing presents. The technology will get better all around (both from Bing and from Google). Searches will be more relevant and easier to conduct. And in the end, the consumer will win.

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