The Verge published a fascinating article yesterday detailing a presentation by Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner where he discussed Google’s advertising practices, claiming that Bing is growing market share because of a groundswell of user discontent with Adwords. He also touted that for the first time ever Bing scored higher in search relevance than Google. It’s hard to argue with that kind of success.
But just to play Devil’s Advocate, I thought I’d take a look at how much Google’s share of market had eroded. To Turner’s credit the statistics on the share of market slides gave Comscore credit for the data, so I simply looked back into old press releases to see the statistics. I discovered quite a different picture than the one that Turner was painting:
Comscore Search Engine share of market:
here is Turner’s slide reflecting the same data:
Turner’s claim that there is user discontent with Google appears to be without merit. In fact, Google appears to have a bigger share of market than in 2009 when Bing was rolled out. Bing appears to be the beneficiary of Yahoo’s declining share of search, but since Bing is informing Yahoo’s search (since late 2011), that victory may not be as sweet as a victory over Google. Google appears to be stronger than the day Bing arrived on the scene, refuting the suggestion of user disillusionment with Adwords.
As for Bing’s claims of increased relevance, they omitted an attribution of that data on their slides, so it’s anyone’s guess where that comes from. However, I took it upon myself to run a test of my own.
Searching for myself (Jim Dougherty) on Bing, I got one hit on the SERP – my LinkedIn page. Nevermind that Leaders West is generating respectable traffic, and nevermind that my LinkedIn profile is “jimdougherty” and another Jim Dougherty ranked higher. What irked me about Bing’s search was that I associated my Facebook page to Bing and its personalized results showed me very little that should have been attributed to me. No articles I’d written, no social profiles, nothing. Google conversely is excellent in personalized search (particularly with the rel=author attribution), and is a little better in organic search.
I’m not saying that I should be the harbinger for all search, but when Bing has made such a big deal about performing social-informed search such irrelevant results are disappointing. I have a really difficult time believing that Bing performs more relevant search than Google when they have a ton of social datapoints on me and fail to provide (even a one or two) relevant results.
I empathize with the situation that Bing is in. They’ve spent a ton of money and can’t crack Google’s foothold on search. But lying about it seems more than a little disingenuous on Microsoft’s part, especially when data refuting those points is hidden in plain sight. I simply had to Google it.