A Look Back at a Month of Binging


Bing launched just over a month ago, to great fanfare and moderately good reviews. Now, it’s time to see if Microsoft (s msft) has gotten anything for its massive ad budget and R&D costs. Too bad for Redmond, Bing is a lot of splash, but not much else.

According to a JPMorgan survey released today, lots of people (59.1 percent, pretty good for a new brand) have heard of the search engine, and 24.9 percent have actually tried it. Unfortunately, this is more representative of new product testing than actual behavior change — which is what Microsoft needs. Of those who tried Bing, only 38.9 percent used it more than five times last month. On the plus side, those who tried it had a positive user experience.

bing2Bing isn’t a bad search engine by any means, but the main issue, according to the survey, is people don’t have any problems with their search engine of choice. 62.6 percent of respondents indicated they saw no weaknesses in their current search experience — so why would they switch? JPM predicts Bing will generate slight market share gain over the old Live.com, perhaps as much as 2 percent, but it would be mostly at the expense of Ask (s iaci) and AOL (s twx) — not Google and Yahoo.


Hitwise noted last week that Google (s goog) accounted for 74.04 percent of all U.S. searches in June, a rise of 0.42 percent over May — while Bing only managed 5.25 percent of searches, a 0.39 percent drop from May. On a strong note for Microsoft, though, searches on Bing.com grew 25 percent week over week, throughout the month of June. This could be an indication of the beginning of a behavior change with users — or it could be that, as Microsoft’s ad campaign ramps up, more people are taking Bing for a test drive. Whether this translates into long-term search growth, we simply don’t know yet.




I think that anybody saying that there are not issues with the current search engines is either lying or has no clue.
Until a couple of years ago google offered great results, now the web is so crowded that it’s difficult to cut through the rubbish and get to the relevant results.
In my experience, Bing usually provides less results, sometimes misses something, but mostly its results are more relevant as also seem to indicate the stats.
Bing has not solved the issue but made a step in the right direction; it’s not just about finding the results but providing the users with some guidance based on their needs.
it would be interesting to see stats for users who use search many times a day (say, more than 5 times a day); in my view this may be a better indicator of the relative quality of the various engines and what the future holds for them.

Technology Slice

It would be interesting to see the 6 month figures in search behaviour. That would be a true indication of how Bing is doing.


Sorry guys, I consider this a biased article. I am not expecting you to join the blogosphere bandwagon and hype Bing. BUT atleast you gotta back up statements like these: “Too bad for Redmond, Bing is a lot of splash, but not much else.” with some of your own analysis/investigation. I wouldn’t care if SAI or some other blog would put out farce like that, but not you guys.


What do you think of Bing’s third party partnership program? They gave a discount to people who bought an iphone through searching on Bing. I would definitely continue to use bing if they offered similar incentives for me to use it.


They nailed it when they said people dont have any issues with their current search engine. I will fall in that category. I use Google and I did try out Bing. While the homepage looks good, it was distracting me from what I came to Bing for. I ended up clicking for details about the homepage picture. Not something which you want to do when at work. Google works perfectly for me and has never let me down and so I dont see any reason why I should move to Bing or for that matter any other SE.

Om Malik

Except the numbers say something else Ballmey :-) Of course I would like to see you guys do better and win and give Google some migraines instead of always being on the defensive.


One month is not enough time to pronounce bing a winner or a loser. Google didn’t become a winner in 1 month, heck not even 1 year after it launched. Apart from that, search engine loyalties will not change overnight. Nor will ad spends shift base. IMO, the first month of bing has been noteworthy – expecting more than that is naive.

The real fun (or war) only begins now..and will run for the rest of year. Will microsoft keep the steam on both product and market innovation for search, while pursuing dreams in other areas – windows 7, netbooks, azure, silverlight, netflix, twitter….

If Google has been successful in search, it is not merely because of the brainwave that Larry and Serge had a decade ago – it is more due to all the brawn work put in by a huge dedicated team in continuously ensuring that the search results stay relevant. Bing will call for a similar investment of passion. A similar drive to stay relevant and contemporary, to be smart, to be fun.

The biggest question that microsoft will need to answer by the end of the year is: Do we want Bing to make money? Nothing will decide the fate of bing more than the answer to this question.

Note that Google seems to have come to terms with not expecting any money from any of it’s products other than search. All their other products are built around (and with generous pouring of wealth from) their search engine.

Either microsoft can emulate the Google business model as they prepare to embrace the cloud, or they will have to invent their own money spinner for the next decade while still offering a meaningful search engine and other products.

Making a good search engine is, technically, a solved problem. Building a strategy for the next decade is something else.

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