It won’t be clear for some time whether Bing‘s attempt to grab search engine market share from Google has stalled, or even gone into reverse. The September numbers from Web metrics firm Net Applications show a slight drop in Bing’s global market share, although Google’s whopping share of the pie — still north of 80 percent — dipped a bit too.
The takeaway could be that Web users have tried Bing out of curiosity and have found it to be, well, good. Which it is. Bing is a fine search engine. Microsoft should be proud. Problem is, good isn’t enough to sway the masses to leave Google behind.
Bing’s apparent stagnation may simply be a result of inertia, or an “indisposition to motion, exertion or change,” according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. Web users are comfortable with Google. We’ve used it for years. It’s a part of our daily routine.
Many of us have a Google toolbar in our browser. Google Search is integrated in the Web sites we visit regularly. And the brand has morphed into a verb, as in, “Why don’t you Google me?”
Ever hear someone say, “Why don’t you Bing me?” If Google is the Coca-Cola of Web search, Bing is RC Cola.
Web search is a utility. Most of us don’t give it a second thought, nor do we want to. Who wants to ponder, “I wonder if I should try Bing, Google, or Yahoo for this particular search?”
Again, inertia is Google’s greatest ally.
To steal significant market share from Google, Bing needs a jaw-dropping, tell-your-friends advancement. But despite Bing’s thoughtful design, it’s no jaw-dropper.
What should Microsoft do? Some pundits believe Bing should add real-time search capabilities similar to what Twitter offers; in other words, the capability to find out what’s happening now on the Web, not last week or last year.