Microsoft and Google jostle to capture the US online search market

Google and Microsoft are jostling to capture the online search market in the US. The later lags behind considerably the market leader and is taking steps to bridge the gap. For example, the company announced a fresh tie-up with Facebook earlier this month for integrating tips from the top social network into results of Bing. Users get to see a sidebar that identifies ‘friends’ so as to help answer topical queries of their choice and those they had ‘liked’ or those they had posted photos about.

Google, on its part, has also shown its interest in being able to utilize the social site for improving the search results. But the search engine major has criticized the fact that the platform has thus far refused to enter a proper data-sharing agreement. Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, in a recent interview described the scenario as ‘unfortunate’, stating that ‘in general, I think we would like to see content on the internet definitely being made more open”.

State of the US search market

The US search market share of Microsoft, according to a recent study by Comscore, is 15.4% compared with that of Google at 66.5%. Earlier surveys have suggested the gap is even wider in the UK and parts of Europe. Google Sites, as expected lead the country’s online scene, specifically, the explicit core search market, as indicated by the figures. Their overall share though is up by just about 0.1 percentage points. Microsoft Sites follow the market leader with a growth again of 0.1 percentage points, followed by Yahoo! Sites (13.5 percent) and Ask Network (3 percent) of overall explicit core searches. AOL lags behind with 1.6 percent. As the findings suggest:

  • 17.1 billion explicit core searches were conducted in the month of April, with Google Sites ranking first with 11.4 billion.
  • Microsoft Sites ranked second with 2.6 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 2.3 billion, Ask Network with 511 million and AOL, Inc. with 271 million.
  • In April, 68.7 percent of searches carried organic search results from Google (up 0.1 percentage points versus March), while 25.9 percent of searches were powered by Bing.

Meanwhile, as explained in an earlier post, Microsoft has just thrown open its social networking service ‘So.cl’ to the general public. Pronounced ‘social’, it’s more of an experimental research project that looks to explore the varied possibilities of social search for learning purpose. The company expects learners to continue using social tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as search tools such as Google and Bing. It hopes to encourage them to reimagine how our day-to-day communications and ubiquitous learning tools can be enhanced through research and constant sharing of knowledge and ideas in the everyday life.

Searches in it get shared publicly. People end up discovering new shared interests through sharing of links. This particular trend is prominent on other social networks as well that causes shared links to spread virally, amplifying popular content.  So.cl experiments with it by sharing links as you search, automatically. The search experience on So.cl , powered by Bing, incorporates usage of the public Bing API’s for displaying search result data.