Talking tech since 2003

In the world of Internet search engines, there has always been this huge perception that Google would always be the largest and dominant search engine on the Internet.  After all, we how many times do we hear the term “Bing it”?  “Yahoo it”?  “Jeeves it”?  Exactly.  Google has not only become a cultural icon, but a driving force in just about every aspect of the technology industry as well.  And while Google’s success is still going strong today with Google having a strong-arm on approximately sixty-percent of the search engine traffic and market-share, recent news has proven that even though Google has a solid foundation in the search engine arena definitely has room for competition.

In the past I’ve looked at Microsoft‘s growing search engine known as “Bing.”  Even though many people, myself included, find that Bing is an extraordinary search engine it has previously been apparent that Bing was a money-draining venture for Microsoft that wasn’t really paying off.  I have even gone as far as questioning why Microsoft has held onto Bing despite its miserable failures.  More recently, however, search engine rankings are showing that Bing gets approximately fourteen percent of all search engine queries in the United States.  Of course this is only about a quarter of the traffic that Google receives, but nonetheless it shows that Bing is heading in the right direction; despite less than promising standings less than a year ago.

In January CEO Steve Ballmer of Microsoft was quoted as saying that  Microsoft “bet on Bing” and ultimately saw business that was “growing like a weed.”  But asides from persistence, what has helped Microsoft to grow Bing to the competitive state that it lies in today?

While I think Bing has done an excellent job at innovating their service and providing its users with new and robust features, I think that the search engine has benefited from what seems to be perfect timing.  You see, while Bing has been growing in recent months Google has been the subject of high levels of public attack because of what was becoming an overwhelming epidemic with spam and “content farms” that were contaminating search results and diminishing the result relevance that helped to give Google an edge.

Even with Google’s swift action in implementing the “Farmer” update that helped to trample spam and poor results on their search engine, I think that Google took a huge hit in terms of their public image.  In partial I think this was the needle that broke the camel’s back, per say, that gave users the final push to look at other search engines.  And with Bing earning quite a name for itself by undercutting Google with new and useful features, it makes sense that Bing would see an increase in traffic.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to say that Bing got lucky with their increase in market-share.  Microsoft has worked long and hard to get Bing to where it is today.

But where is Bing heading?  Now that Bing is getting enough traffic, I think that Microsoft will be able to justify investing a bit more in the search engine, even if they’re not necessarily seeing a huge return on investment (if any) upfront.  This is because it’s now been proven that Bing isn’t simply a bottomless money-pit and that it could very well help Microsoft to better their presence in the web/cloud industry in the coming years.

Moreover, I have to give kudos to Microsoft’s web development team.  Combine this recent revelation with Microsoft’s new “Office 365” collaboration service for small and medium-sized businesses, and I’m really seeing a huge potential for Microsoft in the web services industry in the coming months and years.

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