Search Engine Wars: Why Google Has Already Won

Posted: Sep 22 2009, 10:51am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 4:23pm CDT , in Technology News


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Microsoft's 'Bing' search engine hasn't exactly "killed Google" or changed the way we search forever. What it has done is grow consistently. Since its launch in May, Bing has been gaining market share at a steady rate. Today Silicon Valley Insider reports that comScore's August ratings have Bing at a total of 9.3% of the U.S. search market.

That's up from 8.9% in July, and a total growth of 1.3% since May. Much of that 1.3% came at the expense of Google. Their market share has declined .4% since Bing's launch, and they now account for "only" 64.6% of searches.

Bing is doing well, but it isn't going to win the "search engine war". That's basically what I've been saying from the beginning. Microsoft has a solid search engine in Bing, but nothing about it is innovative enough to drive users away from Google in droves. I think Bing could easily capture and hold onto around 20% of the market, but asking any more of it is lunacy.

Google is good at what they do, but they also have the advantage of being enshrined as sort of a cultural institution at this point. Tech savvy users love Google because they put out a variety of awesome, free products and very rarely screw anyone over. Normal people browsing the Internet love Google because it is what they've always known. To them, Google isn't a product, it's the online equivalent of the highway. They use Google because it gets them where they are going, and they never think more about it then that.

I have a test for you. Go over to a friend's house tonight, find their computer, and open a web browser. Chances are the default page is Google. If it isn't, ask them to search for something and see which URL they enter. I can almost guarantee you it will be Google.

They're not "going Google" because they view it as the best engine, they use it because the idea of using anything else doesn't pop into their head. Google has achieved ubiquity. The only way to knock a product like that off of its pedestal is with something so ground-breaking it shocks people out of their habits. Bing is nifty sometimes, but it isn't the new messiah of online search. Sorry Microsoft.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
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