By Matt McGee
Microsoft’s Director of Search admitted this week that Bing isn’t likely to put a significant dent in Google’s search market share.
Stefan Weitz appeared Tuesday at the Web Summit conference in Ireland, where he told attendees that Bing instead wants to focus on making its search technology an important part of mobile apps and other things that people use every day. The Register quotes Weitz as follows:
It’s unlikely we’re going to take share in [the pure search] space, but in machine learning, natural language search… and how we can make search more part of living. For us, it’s less about Bing.com, though that’s still important. It’s really about how we can instead weave the tech into things you’re already doing.
For pure keyword search, we’re around 30 per cent in the US, not so much in Europe,” he said. “But search in different areas of life? That mix is to be determined. I’m committed to making sure we have our fair share of search in the future.
That 30 percent figure is a combination of the estimated market share for Bing.com and Yahoo, which gets its organic search results from Bing. In its September 2014 report, comScore estimated the two combined for 29.4 percent search share, compared to Google’s 67.3 percent.
You can look at Weitz’s comments as a waving of the white flag, or just as a reflection and admission of reality. The comScore numbers above haven’t changed significantly in a long time. Consider that a year ago — September 2013 — Google was at 66.9 percent while Bing/Yahoo combined for 29.3 percent. Bing’s market share estimates have inched up slowly over the past couple years, but it’s been taking share away from search partner Yahoo, not from Google.
Bing’s recent search focus seems to be on things like conversational search, which it launched in August, its role in Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant/predictive search service and in mobile apps — both its own apps (which no longer carry the Bing name, however) and a recent win when it replaced Google as the search provider for Apple’s Spotlight on both the desktop and mobile devices.
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