Google is the king of the castle when it comes to search engines.
It dominates the sector and, despite the best efforts of its competitors, looks set to maintain this momentum. Microsoft, however, has never shied away from a good old fight. Bing has definitely been picking up its own momentum during the last few months predominantly because of the tie up with Facebook. So, will Bing ever be in a position to truly compete with Google for search engine predominance, or is it destined to always be the poor relation? Well, as things stand the answer is probably no, but there are a few things its trying to do that it hopes will go some way to re-dressing the balance.
The Bing/ Facebook partnership and its effect on social search
If you believe everything you hear, then the future of search will definitely be ‘social’. That’s what all the experts seem to think anyway. We don’t just want search results anymore apparently: we want a personalised search experience that reflects our interests which gives us not only the information we’re looking for, but also recommendations and testimonials from our friends. There are numerous studies on this very subject which have confirmed that search is indeed increasingly going social. Whether you believe that or not doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that both Google and Bing do. Bing’s partnership with Facebook, the world’s largest social network, was a coup. It gave the search engine not just unprecedented access to Facebook’s database, but a genuine competitive advantage over its rival. Was Google at all concerned by this move? You bet it was. It came up with its own version with its +1 application which has been rolled out globally this week. Whether +1 will ever compete with Facebook ‘likes’ is up for debate, but one thing’s for sure, Google has been rattled.
Bing’s continued expansion into the mobile market
Mobile surfing has been expanding dramatically over the last year or so, and statistics show this trend is likely to continue. Mobile search is set to play an increasingly important role in the years to come. Bing has shown that it’s got its finger on this particular pulse, and has launched a concerted push into the mobile market leaving Google trailing in its wake.
Microsoft has built on the established relationship with Research in Motion (RIM). In May this year it announced that it was to become the global default search engine on all new Blackberry phones along with the Blackberry Playbook tablet. That news comes on top of Microsoft’s heavily publicised alliance with Nokia. The Finnish giant will move to Windows Mobile-based phones, and run Bing as the default search engine. Microsoft has also struck deals with carriers, such as Verizon, to make Bing the search engine for some Google Android-based phones.
So, is Microsoft more secure than Google? According to Asa Dotzler it is. Dotzler, an executive of Mozilla and browser rival of Microsoft, firmly believes that Microsoft is a much more secure platform: he advised his blog readers back in 2009 to switch Firefox’s default search engine from Google to Bing for this very reason
Microsoft is bringing Bing to the Xbox
What’s so special about a games console you might ask? Well, for many people Microsoft’s Xbox is much more than just that: it takes pride of place in their living rooms and is actually a gateway to the internet. In more than one sense it’s a central part of their online experience.
Microsoft has announced that it’s making a version of Bing available for the Xbox. This could really open up a potentially significant new market. While Bing will initially only offer a limited range of search types, you can bet that this will increase in line with user adoption. And who knows what will happen then? After using Bing on one device, users may well be tempted to adopt it on other platforms. This will all only help to boost market share.
So, will Bing ever close the gap on Google? Well, not as things stand. It’s certainly made headway in the US in recent months, but still lags behind. Europe is another matter: Google has a 90% + dominance here. Bing will really have to pull out all the stops to make any sort of headway in this neck of the woods.