5. Ads, ads, ads
Inevitably, the search market is defined by advertising. The more users a search engine has, the more likely that search company will turn a profit on ads. With Instant now in play, Google may be able to attract even more users, and thus, steal more advertising share from Microsoft. If the advertising dollars dry up, Microsoft might be hard-pressed to continue offering Bing. Obviously that's a decision that would likely be made years from now, but it's something that Microsoft should probably keep in mind.
6. Google is thinking about search
For a while, some believed that Google was ignoring its core business in favor of the other markets it's competing in. But with the launch of Instant, the search giant has proven once again that it knows what its core business is, and it will do everything it can to maintain its huge lead. That's not good news for Microsoft.
7. Microsoft had the innovation lead
Although Google wouldn't like to admit it, prior to the release of Instant, Microsoft was holding the high ground in innovation. The company did a fine job of integrating search and other apps, its ideas were fresh and its extras, like Bing Maps, were performing quite well. But all that has changed with the launch of Instant. Now, Google has the innovation lead. And it's going to take a lot of effort on Microsoft's part to regain it.
8. Is there a faster way to search?
Since, as mentioned above, speed means everything in search and Google currently offers the fastest option, now it's Microsoft's turn to find a way to get users results quickly and help them arrive at their destination faster. It's a tall order, considering Instant came out of nowhere in the search space, but if Microsoft can't find a faster way to search, the company is in deep trouble.
9. Time is running out
Search is a timed game. The moment one service bests another, the declining product has a finite amount of time to fix the problem before users go elsewhere. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it finds itself in that position. Over the short term, it might not lose a significant share of the search market. But if users continue to find that Instant provides a better experience than Bing, it won't be long before they leave Microsoft's shores forever.
10. The mobile play
The mobile market must still come into play when discussing the future of search. As Google has proven time and again over the past couple years, the mobile market is growing and the company that can dominate search in that space stands to gain heavily. With Instant on tap, Google might eventually decide to port it to its mobile platform. If that happens, Microsoft will be blocked out of another space. The software giant needs to start thinking about mobile search. If it doesn't, Google will easily gain the upper hand.