Will Bing Catch Google?

    May 3, 2011
    Chris Crum

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced today that Bing will be the default search on all BlackBerry devices – not only for the web, but at the OS level.

Can Bing catch Google in search market share? Tell us what you think.

On Bing’s Search Blog, Director Matt Dahlin writes:

Central to this collaboration, , Blackberry devices will use Bing as the preferred search provider in the browser, and Bing will be the default search and map application for new devices presented to mobile operators, both in the United States and internationally. Also, effective today Bing will be the preferred search and maps applications with regular, featured placement and promotion in the BlackBerry App World carousel.

Bing is also now shipping as the default search experience, and map app, for the newly released BlackBerry Playbook. Together, we’ll also market and promote the strength of our joint offerings as “Making better decisions with Bing on BlackBerry.”

These new experiences highlight how the mobile landscape is changing. Devices are becoming sensors that can provide real-time access to information to help people quickly complete tasks on the go. We’re going to see a convergence of search, commerce, social and location-centric services where Bing will provide the intelligence and the organizing layer in the cloud that connects a user’s intent with action, helping people be more productive.

For us, this goes way beyond a “search box” and links that rank URLs representing a set of web documents. For us, it’s about finding real tools that help real people get things done. Bing is about fast decisions, combining the topical graph with your social graph – as well as the geospatial graph – to connect the real world and the digital universe like never before. Doing this on mobile devices of all sorts is incredibly important to this effort, and our work with RIM will help both companies do great things for customers.

Yet more places to get Bing on more devices: http://tnw.co/jrO9cI 59 minutes ago via Seesmic Web · powered by @socialditto

It seems that Bing’s presence as a search engine is just growing and growing. In addition to this BlackBerry news, Microsoft recently announced a partnership with Nokia, which will also see Bing (as well as the company’s Windows Phone OS) coming to all Nokia smartphones and tablets. These two deals alone should be absolutely huge for getting Bing as the default search for more users, particularly as the smartphone and tablet markets continue to grow.

The Nokia deal was just signed a couple weeks ago. “Microsoft will provide Bing search services across the Nokia device portfolio as well as contributing strength in productivity, advertising, gaming, social media and a variety of other services,” the announcement said. “The combination of navigation with advertising and search will enable better monetization of Nokia’s navigation assets and completely new forms of advertising revenue.”

Nokia, while a force in the mobile industry for years, has yet to really make its mark in smartphones and tablets. RIM, on the other hand is firmly entrenched already. There has been talk about falling interest in the BlackBerry brand, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. BlackBerry is still huge, it has a new tablet to compete with the iPad in the BlackBerry PlayBook, and RIM just made a slew of new announcements, including new BlackBerry Bold smartphones, a new version of the BlackBerry OS, and improvements to enterprise/business use of BlackBerry devices.

What if Apple were to drop Google and go with Bing as the default search for iOS? That would be an exceptionally huge blow to Google, and it’s no secret that Apple and Google have developed an increasingly rocky relationship since Google entered the mobile OS game with Android (not to mention Chrome OS). Last fall, it was revealed that Apple and Google had extended their search partnership, but will this last forever?

As Bing expands its presence, things haven’t been completely rosy for Google. Sure, the company made the top of the list in reputation, according to new Harris poll, but Google still faces ongoing scrutiny over competitive practices (a new probe is expected to launch soon from the Federal Trade Commission, which some say could effectively turn Google into the new Microsoft, if it goes against Google).

Complaints have been rampant, with regards to the quality of Google’s search results, though they have gone to great lengths in recent months to address this with things like the Panda update, a new domain blocking feature, and the unveiling of the +1 button. But frankly, the average is probably not too aware. The average user is not looking to see what Google’s doing to improve its results. They’re seeing the results that they see, and if they’re not satisfied, that “Bing” brand that they keep seeing on TV may start to creep into their heads.

That’s another thing. Microsoft has been spending a ton of money on marketing Bing since it was launched, especially on television. Google does very little to market its search engine. Sure, they had that Super Bowl spot, but when was the last time you saw a Google commercial?

And speaking of television, that’s not the only advantage Microsoft has here. In the battle for the living room, Microsoft clearly has a giant edge over Google thanks to the success of Xbox. Google TV has not had much success yet. If Microsoft were to make the Xbox more web-friendly, and it seems only logical that they will sooner or later, Bing will no doubt be heavily emphasized.

What’s something else that people seem to be gravitating to almost as much as TV? Just ask fans of All My Children and One Life to Live. It’s Facebook. Guess who has a search partnership with Facebook. Bing not only provides web search results to Facebook, but continues to integrate Facebook into its own search engine in various ways. Friends are an important relevancy signal, and for many people, Facebook is where there real friends are. As I’ve said repeatedly, Google’s search results will never be as good as they could be without Facebook integration. I know not all of you are convinced on that one, but I still believe it’s a crucial factor in the advancement in search (at least as long as Facebook is the dominant social network).

As you now, Bing is also powering Yahoo, which was Google’s main rival in search not that long ago. Google has said repeatedly that Bing is its main competitor.

Bing says its share of the search market has grown every month since it launched. Many signs point to it growing even more in the coming months. Google still has many redeeming qualities, and I will still not go so far as to say it’s not the best search engine. I still tend to go to Google first for most of my search needs.. That said, I’m not blind to the events unfolding around it.

Do you think Bing has a good chance of catching up to Google in search market share? Comment here.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.