Bing keeps coming on strong : will it continue to?

Sat 18 December 2010 15:02, J-P De Clerck

Bing keeps coming on strong : will it continue to?

My first default home page ever was Yahoo (if I remember well, memory issues start showing after 40). In recent years it sometimes has been one of my own sites and sometimes Google. Today it is Google. Facebook is now asking to be my (and your) home page. I completely feel no urge to set it as my home page but, then again, one day it might. When talking to content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute lately, I noticed what a cultural difference there is in that regarded. Joe uses Facebook for everything, business networking included, like many of his American friends do.

For me Facebook is a combination of my work and fooling around, LinkedIn is business and the home page is still, as just told, Google. Maybe it’ll change, maybe not.

Google and Yahoo: the doubts

But there’s some one else competing for my default home page. It’s Bing. While years ago, we only talked about Google when it came to search and of course eternal number two, Yahoo, we looked at Microsoft’s search proposition (not called Bing back then) and basically sighed, right?

Today Yahoo is mainly in the news for cutting staff and stopping (or probably also selling) some great services such as Delicious. I wonder what the long-term effect of all this will be on Yahoo’s core business.

Google in the mean time did all kind of social stuff (just like Yahoo) and much of it failed (Buzz anyone?). It also launched Google Instant and that led to a rise of search queries in October. Google’s social search features: not impressed, don’t use them: isn’t it a wrong supposition to think that search results from our social circles are more relevant to what we seek?

So there are some doubts regarding Google. There weren’t that much before, did there?

The mobile and social search battle

And then there is Bing. It picks up search share (11.8 share in November, again a rise). Although Google still holds 66% of the market, the impact of Google Instant is already lost again in the numbers and Bing keeps coming on strong. Furthermore, let’s not forget Yahoo’s search is now powered by Bing in the States.

Last week Microsoft announced a whole new range of features for Bing. Key topics: mobile (oh yes, the future of search is very much a mobile one), social (same remark, replace mobile by social) and local (key in U.S., growing elsewhere).

There are enhancements for Windows Phone 7 (just released a month ago and focussing strongly on Bing) and for iPhone and Android applications (one of them being Autosuggest).

Next announcement: Bing Vision. Again in the mobile space: it allows you to use the camera of your smart phone to search on words that are detected in the image, should be able to look for business listings when you take a picture of where you are and obviously barcodes are supported as well.

And that’s far from all: a mobile application to share your location through social location-based services such as Windows Life Activity Stream but also Foursquare and king of social networks, Facebook, a new application for iPhone, integration with some other services etc.

I won’t mention all the other new features but one thing is clear. Bing is being appreciated for what it does and has been doing for a while, including for the desktop user. SEO (and also SMO) tool Raven, which I’ve been using for quite sometime, decided to make Bing its default search engine for all kinds of reasons.

Of course all this doesn’t mean anything yet. Yes, mobile search is growing, as is local and social. But mobile for instance still is relatively moderate (approx. 13% of all search quesries).

And let’s not forget that Google has Android. When I look at my Android Phone, the default screen shows the day and time but Google’s search box is just a slide away. And Android is moving fast in the mobile OS space, gaining ground consistently.

So, who will win the war for our desktop and mobile home page? No idea but I do know this: I use Bing as well now, I never did before.



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