How Can Google Stay Competitive?

By keyurpatkeyurpat (1255664050|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Google has to be concerned that in merely several months, Bing has already taken over approximately 10% of the market share. The unique way that Bing focuses on the user experience may seem a bit ridiculous at first, but I’ve found that the concept has grown on me. The experience is very interactive and even though the my primary goal is to do a search, sometimes I can’t help scrolling around the pictures and curiously reading up on the tidbits that are included within them. Of course, this is not to say that Bing is the better search engine. If I ever need to do serious research, I wouldn’t even hesitate to look at Google first because I know that its simply better than Bing. However, how would I have realized that without doing experiments in my BIT 330 class? It’s interesting to think about what goes through the mind of the average user while using one of these search engines, especially while Bing continues to grow exponentially in popularity and size.


The Average User

When you think about it, how does the average user actually utilize a search engine? Nobody uses the sophisticated types of searches that I’ve learned to use in my BIT 330 class. But why is this the case? The answer is simple: most users are not informed. In fact, a majority of their searches will probably consist of short phrases or single words. How do I know this? Because I used to be the average user


An Experimental Touch

Web search (comparing top 10 results)
Ask Bing Google Yahoo
Ask 4.3 1.5 3.9 1.8
Bing 4.5 2.4 2.3
Google 5.7 2.5
Yahoo 5.1
All 1.1

Recognize this? These are the results from a search engine experiment done in class. By examining this table, we can see that based on the experiment:

  • Google returns an average of 5.7 relevant results
  • Bing returns an average of 4.5. relevant results

This is merely a difference of one result (try it yourself). Furthermore, an experiment from the previous year proves that these results are pretty reliable. Now, you tell me…how many users would recognize this difference? Not many. Essentially, there is nothing keeping a user from using Bing as opposed to Google or is there? Let’s take a deeper look…

The Google Response

Do you think that with all its new developments, Google has put less emphasis on the quality of its search engine? Well, this blurb from a businessweek article says otherwise:

For all the many projects Google (GOOG) has cooking, from the video site YouTube to a new computer operating system, Internet search remains far and away its most important product. Search advertising, along with related ads that it runs on thousands of partner Web sites, still accounted for nearly all of its $22 billion in revenues last year.

That gold mine utterly depends on how well Google's search engine can maintain its lead. In a close look at the company's search quality group, BusinessWeek found that search remains Google's overriding focus. Several hundred engineers in the group continue to tweak the algorithms that instantly match queries with relevant results, making as many as 500 changes a year to these mysterious mathematical formulas.

As I mentioned before, Bing has conquered a considerable 10% of the market share since its release. Google’s search advertising accounted for approximately $11 billion in revenues. You do the math. What makes it worse for Google is that Bing’s success doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. So what are some advantages that will give Google the competitive edge? Let’s take a look:

  • What’s one common link between the Safari, Firefox and Chrome web browsers? Every single one includes a Google search bar. All Mac computers come with a Safari Browser. Most active internet users will agree that Firefox and Chrome provide the best experience in terms of browsing. This gives Google a significant advantage over Bing.
  • On top of its search engine, Google is working actively to develop more innovative apps, especially one of its newest ventures: the Google Wave. The company makes it a priority to integrate many different services together to create a smooth experience for the user. This obviously helps to generate more activity for its search engine simply by affiliation.
  • Google will continue to have the edge over Bing in terms of scale because of the enormous amounts of data it already has (and the number keeps growing)
  • Google has the resources and firepower to keep up with Microsoft’s innovative strategies
  • People are just used to using Google

My Last Thoughts

Will users be more informed in the future? Well, that is yet to be determined, but we do know for sure that for Google to remain competitive with Microsoft, they will have to be more innovative than ever. Fortunately, Google has all the tools to make this happen. I’ve already seen Google attempt to improve their search engine by including videosurf (a great alternative video search engine) in their search results. The company is also currently exploring ways to better rank real-time searches like twitter to keep up with the growing supply of real-time information. One thing is for sure, Google is not going to sit around and let Bing have their way.

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