Microsoft Search Keeps Playing Catch-up with Google

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-11-09 Print this article Print


5. Bing doesn't have the name recognition 

Microsoft's Bing search platform has one major issue that needs to be addressed over time: name recognition. Google has become synonymous with search, and people typically call on others to "Google" something. Bing doesn't have that luxury. It's a search platform that not enough people are using to make it as easily recognizable as Google. That kind of name recognition has helped Google and hurt Bing. 

6. Relevance still isn't Bing's strong suit 

For the vast majority of searches, Bing performs quite well. But in those cases where a user needs to search for more sophisticated topics that require more detailed queries, Google Search, at least in my testing, performs at a much higher level. Considering the search engine's market share, it's not a stretch to say that most would agree. Until Microsoft can improve Bing's algorithm, the company should be worried about its future search prospects. 

7. It's more than just search 

Search is extremely important to the future of Google's and Microsoft's operations. But that doesn't mean that it's the only thing that matters. Quite the contrary, all of the accompanying services, including Google Maps, Google News and other options, have helped the search giant maintain its lead in the market. Microsoft has several other services as well, including Bing Maps, but they don't keep people engaged as effectively. This will continue to hurt Microsoft until it can find a way to keep people using its many services. 

8. Advertising is slipping away 

The real concern that should be going through Microsoft's meetings is the possibility of being blocked out entirely in the Web advertising space. As Google has proved time and again, success in search is extremely important from an advertising perspective. Microsoft knows that too, which is why it has its own advertising platform. But Google's AdWords and AdSense are still the gold standard. That's precisely why Google generates so much cash from ads while Microsoft is still trying to play catch-up. 

9. Mobile advertising should be a concern 

When Google acquired AdMob to bolster its mobile advertising efforts, alarm bells should have gone off at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond. AdMob is a leader in the mobile advertising space. With the right focus, Google can effectively corner advertising both through mobile search and via applications. The more powerful Google is in the mobile-ad space, the worse it is for Microsoft. 

10. There isn't a real cash advantage 

Microsoft spent all kinds of cash to take a dominant position in a multitude of IT market sectors. It invests heavily in Office, Windows, Internet Explorer and, now, search. But the company doesn't have a cash lead in search because it's up against a company in Google that's operating as efficiently as Microsoft is. That should worry Microsoft. If it can take the cash lead, it will need to take the innovation lead. At least so far, it has been unable to do that. 


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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