Let’s start with the obvious: Google is without a doubt the world’s largest and most popular search engine. It’s a gigantic dominant digital force of nature. In fact, Google processes 1.2 trillion searches worldwide each year. That breaks down to an astonishing 40,000 searches every single second. To date, no competitors have been able to hold a candle to Google’s dominance.
When Microsoft decided to enter the search arena with the rival platform, Bing, most thought that this competition was doomed from the get-go and would fade out in no time.
In a surprising turn of events, however, Bing has slowly but surely been gaining traction over the years and now officially controls over 20 percent of the market, according to a recent ComScore report. 20.1% to be exact. This is definitely not good news for Google, especially considering that the company recently came under fire for manipulating search results to favor their own services.
Let’s take a look at how this happened and what this means for Google and Bing going forward.
The Bing / Yahoo Relationship
It seems that Bing’s rise to a solid number two position in the market has come at the expense of Search Alliance partner, Yahoo. Now, Yahoo currently sits at only a 12.7% share of the market; the same number Bing had in 2010.
Back when Bing launched in the summer of 2009, Yahoo reveled in this 20 percentile share. That same year, Microsoft and Yahoo formed a decade long partnership where Bing would power all of Yahoo’s searches. In return for this, Yahoo would become Bing’s sales force in advertising.
This deal was updated last month to provide Yahoo with increased “flexibility to enhance the search experience” on desktops or mobile devices, although Bing will continue to power the majority of Yahoo’s search results.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was quoted on this matter as stating, “Our global partnership with Yahoo has benefited our shared customers over the past five years and I look forward to building on what we’ve already accomplished together,”. Yahoo Chief Marissa Mayer also commented on these updates by stating, “Over the past few months, Satya and I have worked closely together to establish a revised search agreement that allow us to enhance our user experience and innovate more in our search business.” She goes on to say that, “This renewed agreement opens up significant opportunities in our partnership that I’m very excited to explore.”
While this deal between Microsoft and Yahoo has not given Bing a household name like Google has accomplished, the alliance has served both companies in developing a widely used search tool that 1 out of every 5 individuals is utilizing, even if they don’t realize it.
Bing is on the Rise
The new ComScore report showed that Google dropped a meager 0.1 points since February, whereas Bing grew 0.3. While this may not appear significant, realize that over the course of the past year Bing’s share of desktop searches has grown 10 percent. The numbers may not always have been so drastic, but Bing has steadily been on the rise since hitting the web. This growth may be in part to Microsoft’s process of constantly tweaking and improving aspects of the Bing user experience in the hopes of converting loyal Google users.
Recently, Bing enhanced its image search to provide users with related search options, additional sizes of the image, pages that contain the image, as well as Pinterest collections in which the image is featured. This is a huge advancement in comparison to Google’s much more rudimentary image search.
Additionally, Microsoft has integrated the search engine into its ever-popular Office Online product. This allows Office users to search Bing without ever leaving the program. In conjunction with these new features, Microsoft still runs a long-standing incentive program which rewards users of Bing with gift cards, sweepstakes, and various other prizes. Between the incentives, the easy accessibility, and the partnership with email giant Yahoo, it is no wonder that Bing is not only becoming more relevant, but beginning to pose a threat to the all-powerful Google.
As the battle for search dominance heats up, both competitors are sure to give the battle everything they have. While Google still safely retains search engine dominance for now, rest assured that Bing is ready to pull out all of the stops to get to the top of the mountain. Now controlling 20% of the search market, Bing has caught all of the internet’s attention right in the middle of building some serious momentum. If Google is to remain the king of all search engines, it will have to focus more on improving different facets of its service, otherwise Bing might just pull the proverbial rug right out from under them.