On search engine realated newsgroups, posts are laying out the respective search strategies of Google and Microsoft, both of which revolve chiefly around fancy new features and services. And, increasingly, Microsoft’s Bing seems to be winning.
Bing still handles a small slice of Web searches in the United States, 12.7 percent in June, compared with Google’s 62.6 percent, as measured by comScore, the Web analytics firm. But Bing’s share has been growing, as has Yahoo’s, while Google’s has been shrinking.
Google has even taken on some of Bing’s distinctive look, like giving people the option of a Bing-like colorful background, and the placement of navigation tools on the left-hand side of the page. The decision to change its layout and then to undo the change shows that Google is feeling the pressure of Microsoft going hard into the search space.
And this wasn’t the first time Google’s hand was forced by Microsoft. In October, Microsoft announced at an industry conference that it was integrating Twitter results into Bing. Google was upstaged, since it hadn’t announced a Twitter deal yet. The company scrambled to get Twitter integration, which it announced just hours later.
“There is a cold war going on,” says one analyst. “Bing’s competition is forcing Google to try and catch up.”
Bing, for example, will compare airline prices for customers, and predict whether they’ll go up or down.
Google officials have conceded that there is more competition, but say they aren’t simply playing a reactionary role. The result of this competition is a raft of new tools and features for consumers, resulting in richer, more relevant answers to increasingly complicated queries. It remains to be seen whether Google’s departure from the clean and simple search engine that made it famous will nip Bing’s growth the bud.