Google Continues to Lead Microsoft, Yahoo in Search Engine Satisfaction

The American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business report from ForeSee Results and the University of Michigan said Google leads rival search engines from Yahoo and Microsoft in customer satisfaction, with a score of 86. Microsoft's new Bing search engine was not a factor in this report, though it will be in 2010.

For the second straight year, Google scored an 86 to blow away all other search engines and portals in the American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business report, a highly regarded survey taken by ForeSee Results and released Aug. 18 by the University of Michigan.

Google search rivals Yahoo and Microsoft also held the same scores from the 2008 survey, garnering customer satisfaction ratings of 77 and 74 percent, respectively.

ForeSee Results said its search and portal company metrics were taken before Microsoft released its new Bing search engine in June. This is an important point because Bing has gotten high marks from those using it and is gaining some market share from Google and Yahoo, according to measurements from researchers such as comScore and StatCounter.

With Google holding a substantial lead over Yahoo and Microsoft in the ASCI report, ForeSee said the introduction of Bing is timely because "Google is leaving both Yahoo and MSN in the dust."

ForeSee is looking forward to the 2010 ASCI satisfaction report, which should bring some indication of whether Bing has the "satisfaction chops to challenge Google in the future." Download the ForeSee e-business report here.

However, ForeSee wonders where Bing's market share will come from, noting that the upstart search engine may take market share from Yahoo, MSN and, but not Google based on its stellar satisfaction ratings. The ForeSee report said:

"It seems unlikely that customers will actually leave Google in enough numbers to allow Bing to seriously challenge Google's market dominance, given Google's extremely high customer satisfaction. People are happy with Google, so why would they switch? They might switch if Bing is better, and that's a tall order considering Google is the second-highest scoring ACSI service-sector company, behind Bing has been called a search engine war 'game changer,' but Google's game will be very hard to change at this point. If anyone can do it, it's the combined resources and market share of Yahoo and MSN."

A worthy challenge to Google could come from the search and search ad deal that Microsoft and Yahoo struck July 29, well after the ASCI survey was taken. In that deal, which must be blessed by regulators before it can begin in 2010, Microsoft agreed to power Yahoo's search for the next decade.

It is unclear how this will play into the search engines and portals segment of the customer satisfaction index, which Google has led for seven of the last eight years.

Google's off-year was in 2007, when Yahoo beat the search giant by one point, 79 to 78. Google rebounded to score 86 in 2008 and has remained static through 2009.

Google's high marks also carried the e-business segment, which reached a new high for 2009, up 2.8 percent to an ACSI score of 81.5, ForeSee said.

Moreover, since ASCI began measuring e-business in 2000, the category is up nearly 30 percent, an indication of how much people have turned to the Web for more information. Portal and search engine sites led the way, improving 4 percent to a new category high of 83.

Read more about the ASCI report on TechMeme here.