What does Bing have going for it beside some cool, graphically pleasing search tools? Not market share, that’s for sure.
Even as Yahoo’s search results pages are usurped by Microsoft’s search engine, I can’t help but view Google’s renewal and embellishment of its search deal with AOL as a minor blow to Bing.
People aren’t searching AOL they way they were five or 10 years ago; its Web properties sport about 3 percent market share.
AOL barely retains enough exposure and users to matter to Bing, whose market share is only about 11 or 12 percent.
Google gets to retain its search castle by keeping the AOL traffic, giving the company the bulk of the search ad cash.
I asked Microsoft for comment, but of course they had none. What is there to say? Losing the opportunity to power AOL’s search is small potatoes after winning Yahoo’s hand.
Now Google is hosting a major search event this Wednesday, ostensibly to announce features to help the company maintain its 65 percent search share.
We don’t know what Google will reveal then; the company has been caught by the media shamelessly matching Bing features.
Google released search refinements in the left-hand rail that let users slice and dice info in many different ways.
Google aped Bing again by offering users the chance to customize their homepage by adding a favorite photo.
Google revamped Google Image Search with tiled images and a hover pane, among other perks.
Most recently, Google began indexing real-time info on a separate page, matching the Bing Twitter experience.
Every time Bing does something, Google matches it, ideally to add more cement to its search foundation.
Microsoft has notoriously lost billions of dollars from its online properties over the years.
Anyone want to guess how much Bing is costing Microsoft to develop and market? The company said back in May 2009 that it would pump $100 billion to market the search engine.
And now it’s paying Yahoo millions of dollars per year in search ad revenue to be able to say it powers 30 percent of the search market. Bing would only gain a few more percentage points powering search for AOL.
On the one hand, one could argue every little bit helps. On the other, one can’t help but think it doesn’t matter.
Not only is Bing not going to knock Google off of its search throne, but Google is evolving, chasing Facebook in social networking with Google Me.
Perhaps that’s the real market should be gunning for. Microsoft should have bought Facebook years ago. Now it’s too late. Facebook is the next Internet power.
Maybe Microsoft should take over MySpace and throw $100 billion building it out instead of marketing a search product that Google obscures with its powerful brand.