Microsoft's Bing continued to make incremental gains against Google in the U.S. search engine market, according to Experian Hitwise. Bing has continued to build out Web portal-like features to attract users.
Microsoft's Bing continued its pattern of incremental gains, according to
research firm Experian Hitwise, which reported the search engine grew to occupy
9.85 percent of the U.S.
search engine market in June.
That represents a 7 percent change from May, when Hitwise estimated Bing's
share of the market at 9.23 percent. Meanwhile, Google continued to dominate
with 71.65 percent of the U.S.
search engine market, dropped nearly a percentage point since May. Yahoo dipped
only slightly, from 14.43 percent to 14.37 percent.
Since launching in summer 2009, and despite some early predictions of its
imminent demise, Bing has managed to seize between 9 and 12 percent of the
search-engine market, depending on the survey. While those numbers are dwarfed
by Google's, which holds between 66 and 72 percent of the market, Bing's growth
over the past year suggests the Website is capable of longer-term survival,
even after Microsoft ratcheted down its initial multimillion-dollar marketing
Bing has also been experiencing strong growth in a number of vertical
industry categories. Hitwise previously reported that the percentage of U.S.
upstream traffic sent from Bing to shopping sites increased 100 percent year over
year; to health care-related sites, it increased by 105 percent; to travel
sites, by 71 percent; and to automotive sites, by 95 percent. In contrast,
Google, despite a higher overall number of searches, experienced lesser gains
in vertical categories, with a 15 percent increase year over year for shopping,
-6 percent for health, 6 percent for travel and 11 percent for automotive.
Those gains could be due to Bing's focus on what one Microsoft executive
called "nontraditional areas" such as event-driven tasks and commercial
"As we look at how people are using the Web itself and how the Web is
changing, we think we can expand that which people do with these engines," Bing
Director Stefan Weitz said
to eWEEK in March. "The more exciting place, and the place we're looking at
more often, is how we expand the art of the possible in search." Traditional
keyword search, Weitz added, remains
largely the providence of Google.
In that spirit, Bing has continued to expand the number of tabs on its
homepage that access specific categories of search. In late June, an
Entertainment tab appeared, leading to a page with separate tabs, in turn, for
Music, Movies, TV, Games and Video Games.
"In this release of Bing one of the biggest investments we are making is in
the area of entertainment," Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's
Bing unit, wrote June 22 on the Bing Community blog. "Working with key groups
inside Microsoft that have deep entertainment heritage, we've made significant
investments in four key areas: Music, Gaming, Movies and TV. Our focus was on
making it easy-if you can type in a search box, you can have a great
entertainment experience on Bing."
The Entertainment section allows users to play casual games for free, listen
to streaming songs via Microsoft's Zune service, and watch trailers for console
games and movies. Such features may give Bing more the feel of a Yahoo-like Web
portal, which is fitting, considering that Microsoft's search-and-advertising
deal with Yahoo will soon see Bing powering back-end search on Yahoo's Websites.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.