As far as Google is concerned, Microsoft's Bing is that kid in class who used to sneak a peek at your exam paper and copy the answer. How so? According to Search Engine Land, Google put on its detective cap and discovered that Bing has been paying attention to search queries on Google as well as the sites users select, and then using that information to beef up Bing's own search listings.
"I've spent my career in pursuit of a good search engine," says Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow involved in the search engine's ranking algorithm. "I've got no problem with a competitor developing an innovating algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book."
If you were expecting Microsoft to outright deny the charge, then you'll be surprised at what was said. The software giant instead offered only a vague response to the allegation, saying it uses "multiple signals and approaches" when determining ranking.
Microsoft and Facebook are now friends in the search game, as the two companies on Wednesday announced a partnership that will integrate the popular social network into Bing's search results. It's not a full-on gut punch to Google, but perhaps a solid sock to the arm.
"When you search for something on Bing or in Web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you'll be able to see your friends' faces next to the webpages they've liked," Facebook stated in a blog post. "So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search."
The collaboration also purports to improve people search results on Bing so that it's easier to find old friends or hook up with new ones. When you type in a search query, Bing tracks down and provides the results most relevant to you based on your Facebook connections. Type the name of someone, for example, and you can click to add them as a Friend or send them a message if they're already in your Facebook clan.
On the privacy front, Microsoft says "you will only see Facebook users who have enabled 'public search' in their Facebook profiles."
If Google CEO Eric Schmidt is the be believed, the Mountain View company is looking past upstarts like Apple and Facebook, and seeing their real competition in the Microsoft-run Bing search engine. "Bing is a well run, highly competitive search engine," Schmidt said the Wall Street Journal. While Apple might have a successful mobile platform, Bing is looking to go after Google's core business. Soon, Windows Phone 7 will give it a mobile platform for Bing to call its own.
With Bing's recent deal with Yahoo, they have moved solidly into second place in the search market. Google still holds the lion's share of the market, but Microsoft is determined to spend on search in a way they weren't in the past. Do you think Bing is really Google's biggest competitor, or is Schmidt just deflecting?
Let's face it, no one's going to topple Google in the search game, at least not any time soon. That means the real race is for second place, and it's there that Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo's Yahoo Search run neck in neck.
Which search engine leads the pack from second place depends on who you ask, and if you put your faith in Nielsen's numbers, then Bing just inched ahead of Yahoo in the international search game.
"Nielsen's search data only counts genuine intentional searches that people type into a search box," Nielsen explains. "It does not include non-intended or 'contextual' searches that are automatically generated by search engines based on a person's browsing behavior."
With Nielsen's formula in place, the research firm says says Bing controlled 13.9 percent of the search market in August, up just barely from July. Yahoo, meanwhile, slid backwards 1.5 percentage points from 14.6 percent in July to 13.1 percent in August.
Microsoft today announced a new Bing-powered education emporium called Redu. The goal, says Microsoft, is to give students, parents, teachers, and people in general a place to discuss current events and take action where they see fit.
"These aren't problems that can be solved in one administrative term or election cycle, and it's overwhelming for one corporation, political party, or community organization to think about alone," says Cameraon Evans, Microsoft's U.S. Education chief technology officer, in regards to educational issues like lack of school funding and academic performance. "The focus of Redu is to take these voices and put them together to bring about change."
Redu, or REDU if you want to spell it with all caps like Microsoft does, includes tools and resources to help ambitious would-be changers of the world who haven't yet been jaded. Things like setting up donations for local classroom projects to researching how to become a teacher in a particular state are all part of the Redu experience, explains Adam Sohn, a senior director of online services at microsoft.
"There's a lot going on but there isn't one place where people can come and participate in a discussion," Sohn says. "Redu is a good way for us to help people participate in one of the most important conversations that will happen in America over the next decade."
Google has become a part of everyday life, both for its now-ubiquitous search engine, as well as for its huge lineup of services. Whether it's Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Picasa or the almighty Google Search, the company holds a large majority of users in the palm of its hand.
And there are good reasons why Google's services and products are so popular, but that doesn't mean that the competition isn’t pitting their own ideas against the internet giant. Other big-hitters like Yahoo and Microsoft are also vying for their stake in the market, and numerous smaller developers are attempting to offer comparable services that keep Google on its toes.
We’ve got a list of ten alternatives to the most commonly used Google services, followed by services from alternative developers to give you more information on the available alternatives. There are some cases where Google indeed has a superior offering to its competitors, but there are also instances where a particular user might favor an alternative product.
For now, Google has nothing to worry about in the search market. Despite a 1 percent drop in month-on-month market share, Google is still crushing the competition with a 64.2 percent share, followed by Yahoo in a distant second at 14.3 percent. And what about Bing?
Yes, what about Bing. Microsoft's spunky search engine sits in third place with a 13.6 percent share of the market, and that alone doesn't sound particularly impressive. But make no mistake, Bing is on the up and up. While all but one other top five search engine showed a year-on-year drop in market share, Bing managed to move up by a whopping 51 percent. During that same period, Google moved backwards by 1 percent.
When you consider that Bing is now powering Yahoo's U.S. search operations, the market share outlook could look a whole lot more competitive this time next year. Google can afford to rest on its laurels for a little while longer, but after all this time at the top, we could soon be looking at a market share split.
We all know that Google is pretty much dominating the desktop search market, but a new analysis from Pingdom shows the mobile market is even more under Google's control. Google appears to be rocking a 98.26% share of mobile searches. The nearest competitor is Yahoo, with about 0.8%. Probably all from the Motorola Backflip.
It's clear this is due to Google's placement on the iPhone and Android as the default search engine. Microsoft's Bing has less than half a percent of mobile searches. When Windows Phone 7 launches, it will have Bing as the built-in search provider. But is that enough to even put a dent in Google's piece of the pie?
Honestly, we can't think of a time we've used a search engine other than Google on a phone. Have you?
According to comScore’s latest report on the US search market, Bing continued its recent upward trend during the month of June as well. Its share of the US search market increased 0.6 percent to reach 12.7 percent. Even Yahoo grew by an identical margin to finish the month with 18.9 percent.
Among the top four search engines, market leader Google was the only one that shed market share. Its share of the core search market decreased 1.1 percent during the month. comScore attributed Microsoft and Yahoo’s recent gains “to the continued utilization of contextual search approaches that tie content and related search results together.”
Microsoft has been taking it on the chin lately with the departure of several high profile executives, and the cancellation of the Kin. But some new search numbers could brighten up Redmond's day. Experian Hitwise is reporting that Bing grew 7% in June. It's got to be good to know that they are continuing to make progress despite Google's dominance.
Bing's total share of searches now stands at 9.85% - oh so close to that psychological double-digit barrier. The other side of the coin is that Google actually fell 1% by Experian's reckoning. Not a huge loss, but it's certainly not a 7% increase. Bing is doing particularly well in the areas of travel and health searches, an area where Google tends to do poorly compared to its other traffic.
Google is in no danger of falling off its throne any time soon. Their piece of the pie is currently pegged at 71.65%. But still, Bing is doing better than most observers would have expected when it was introduced. Do you use Bing for any particular types of searches?