Google's Marissa Mayer tells Digg co-founder Kevin Rose that Microsoft's Bing search is a formidable rival to Google's search engine, especially given that Microsoft just inked a blockbuster deal to power Yahoo's search for the next decade. Mayer also says Bing appears to duplicate some Google features.
In a sign of just how seriously Google is taking Microsoft's latest search
challenge, Marissa Mayer, Google vice president of search products and user
experience, said Microsoft's Bing search engine is a strong competitor even
though Google is the search engine market leader at 65 percent.
During a Digg Dialogg with Digg co-founder Kevin Rose aired here July 29, Mayer also
admitted that she had done some searches using Bing after Microsoft launched
its revamped search engine June 3, and found that some of the features copied
what Google has done. Digg Dialoggs are crowdsourced interviews forged from
questions Digg users vote for on the popular social tagging Website.
Asked how she feels about Bing and whether or not Google plans to change its
search engine to respond to its rival, Mayer told Rose that Google welcomes the
competition, and praised Bing.
"One of the things that happens when you have a strong competitor-and
Microsoft, of course, behind Bing, is a very, very strong competitor that needs
to be taken seriously-when you have strong competitors it makes everyone work
harder and that makes search better, and that's ultimately really better for
users," Mayer said. "So, we're really aware of what Bing is doing and
looking at that. That said, we've always done well focusing on our users, and
that's where our focus has stayed."
Rose then asked Mayer if she had done some searches on Bing to see what
fruit Microsoft's efforts had borne.
"I certainly did some searches when the site first came online, but
again I think it's important not to over-focus on it," Mayer said, reiterating
that Google's goal is to focus on improving the user experience rather than on the
competition. However, she added, "Interestingly... there's a lot of feature
overlap [between Bing and Google]. Their refinements might be in different
places here or there but a lot of technologies are the same."
Mayer did not specify which features Bing seems to have copied. However,
users who try both side by side in Web browsers can see that Bing offers
autosuggest features similar to Google, and, like Google, offers a tool bar
that takes users to images, video, maps, shopping and news.
Despite Mayer's statement that Google is focused on providing more relevant
results and faster search instead of worrying about what the competition is
doing, that could change in the future considering that Microsoft through its
deal with Yahoo has now put itself in position to close the gap between Bing,
which holds an 8.4 percent market share, and Google search.
However, the deal is not expected to begin showing results for either
Microsoft or Yahoo until early 2010, assuming it passes muster with regulatory bodies. That, as the world saw when
the Department of Justice struck down Google's bid to partner with
Yahoo, is no slam dunk.
Short of some severe outages in Google's distributed data centers around the
world, or a complete brain drain at Google headquarters in Mountain View,
Calif., there is no reason to believe Google won't continue to gradually increase its lead in