Saturday, June 6, 2009

Microsoft updates its search engine - enter Bing exit Live and MSN search

Microsoft has recently updated their search engine offering and rebranded it under the name of Bing. They have quickly redirected and updated their other online properties to direct traffic to this new interface including and

Why have they done this? 

Despite dominance worldwide in operating systems, office productivity tools, internet browsers and other areas Microsoft has struggled to unseat the market share and popularity of both Google and Yahoo, the internet upstarts who have managed so far to protect their franchise.

Bing has a lot of ground to catch up. Looking at our stats in terms of traffic to our site the ratio of searches in Google, Yahoo and Microsoft search are: 140:7:1

Yep, for every one visitor from a Microsoft property (formerly Live/MSN) we get 7 from Yahoo and 140 from Google.

Bing looks a lot like Google (although it has a nice background graphic instead of the spartan Google search page), but has a few nifty features you can't find in the other search engines like a site preview (textual summary) from the front page of the site you mouse over.

Ultimately its success will depend on whether users see that the results it delivers are better (more relevant/accurate) than its competition. 

Have a look at Bing and do some searches for your keywords and see how different it is. I did get a good laugh when searching for "obstetrics". No medical practitioner sites but at least two sites dealing with medical negligence claims. You would hope a small number of people searching for obstetrics would actually want to see medical negligence pages.

Time will tell whether they can evolve their algorithms to make results more relevant and whether it is worthwhile to spend resources attempting to rank well in this new search engine. Until the market share of the search engines changes significantly it is certainly not worth the effort.

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