Bing Is Better Than You Think

Bing dinged? Not so fast, Fool.

New data from comScore says that Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) upstart search engine gained rather than lost share, as Nielsen reported in its latest MegaView Search survey.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) also gained ground, but not as much as Bing, comScore reports. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) , AOL (NYSE: AOL  ) , and IAC's (Nasdaq: IACI  ) Ask.com all lost share. The numbers in detail:

Company

12/09

11/09

Google

65.7%

65.6%

Yahoo!

17.3%

17.5%

AOL

2.6%

2.8%

Microsoft

10.7%

10.3%

Ask.com

3.7%

3.8%

Source: comScore, by way of TechCrunch and Barclays Capital.

What's with the discrepancy? My guess is the methodology. No two researchers are ever alike. IDC's numbers often differ from those of its main rivals in the technology market research business: Gartner (NYSE: IT  ) and Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR  ) .

My advice is to not get caught up in the specifics and look instead at the broader trend. I see two things here:

  • Bing is better positioned than the rest of the second-tier search engines, even if Yahoo! is like an anchor.
  • No one's touching Google.

Just look at the numbers. For as impressive as Bing's debut was, and for as rich as alternatives such as Wolfram|Alpha and Hunch.com appear to be, Google continues to take the majority of search queries. Two-thirds, roughly, month after month after month.

Mr. Softy's best hope, long term, is to be Pepsi to Google's Coca-Cola. But even that may be a long shot given these numbers. Do you agree? Disagree? Make your voice heard using the comments box below.

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Coke and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Motley Fool Options recommends a diagonal call strategy on Microsoft. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy would love to stay and chat, but it's already late for an appointment.


Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (19)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2010, at 1:24 PM, TMFKris wrote:

    If the companies don't provide different survey results, how would they differentiate themselves and prove the need for more than one of them?

    Kris (MF copyeditor)

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2010, at 1:41 PM, ChannelDunlap wrote:

    Bing is a joke. Microsoft made such a big deal out of it, all the media hype and TV commercials and all that, and what is it? Google with a background image. Unless Microsoft intends to continue funneling money into a marketing campaign for it, I expect to see it fall by the wayside pretty quick.

    As a side note, I would be interested in seeing the MSN's market share was before Bing was released. They have gained some, but I'm guessing not much.

    I'd also be interested to know, is there anybody here on TMF who does NOT use Google? and is there a reason why?

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2010, at 1:57 PM, Fool wrote:

    Bing is no joke ChannelDunlap. I am a long time Google user and I made the switch. I simply like Bing better. That is a preference thing but trust me, I was a Google fanboy. If I switched, others can and will. The thing that people don't see here is market dominance in search is not as stable as say what MS has in the OS. People can switch from one search provider to another with little pain. Many people don't even know what search they use. Toolbar deals helped Google gain dominance. MS is now making many of those same deals.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2010, at 6:11 PM, Eerkes wrote:

    i like bing, only because its a few less keystrokes and it has a baby penguin in the background or a waterfall, or something else interesting

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2010, at 10:33 PM, FLEESEee wrote:

    As long as their are men in power, such as our so called elected officals,with is suppose to look after you and me.....Thats a laugh...With there hand out to the lobbyest,it will never change!!!!!! The bankers will pay it to them, and you and I will suffer....From the President, down the line.I say VOTE the #@$&&*@

    OUT. AMEN.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2010, at 5:08 PM, kungfupanda wrote:

    Yahoo! needs to stand up and should start getting all the market share it lost to Bing and Google. Yahoo! needs a solid technical management to upgrade its products and services.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2010, at 11:01 AM, rmb0000 wrote:

    bing is simply not as good. they try to keep relevance high by making their lives easier and indexing less of the web, believed to be around 1/5 to 1/4 as many pages as Google. (you can read on the cuil site about index sizes of the various SE).

    Once you get off the beaten path w/ Bing, their results suffer because of this, they simply dont have the pages indexed. I run a small website, about 150 pages total, Bing has indexed 30, Google all 150. Bing knows of all 150 pages as they're crosslinked, yet they dont crawl them. No surprise then, that their results for phrases that hit my site are much worse on Bing than Google, they simply cannot serve up as good of results, they dont have the index.

    Multiply by millions and millions of websites, many times over, and you have the difference between Google and Bing. And mind you they dont limit their index size for any other reason than if they did let it get as big as Googles index, they would not be able to rank it as effectively. Too noisy. So they make up for not being as good at ranking by limiting the index, which makes ranking easier. Which is not terribly innovative or useful, to me.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2010, at 1:31 PM, woodszilla wrote:

    I still use Google for all my main searching needs. But I use Bing when I want to shop online. They have a proram called 'Bing Cash Back' which gives you cash back rewards on your online purchases. I recently got 12.8% cashback on some purchases at Tigerdirect.com and I know you can get ~20% cash back at some sites like Macy's and Sears.

    So it looks like Bing has a niche, even if it won't ever match google for the typical search.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2010, at 1:33 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    I still think Bob Hope is funnier.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2010, at 6:14 AM, mattjac1 wrote:

    @catoismymotor

    Nice :D

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2010, at 2:58 PM, Fool wrote:

    I just discovered a site called TheyAnswer which lets you ask people you know for answers, recommendations, and reviews. And somehow TheyAnswer automatically targets the right people to answer your questions. Amazing! I also added TheyAnswer on my website so people can contact me and ask me questions. It’s better than Twitter :)

    http://www.theyanswer.com

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2010, at 3:30 PM, goodald wrote:

    My mom loves bing and it's "pic of the day + facts"... I still use google but Bing seems to strike a chord with some users.

    Note.. however.. that my mom only used it after installing ie8 and it being set as a homepage. That was a one time event so I don't know how often they'll get bumps from that activity.

    Bing does work pretty well on my iPhone as well - It would be interesting to see that become the default mail/search for that platform if Apple ever decides that feeding Android's creator is... improper...

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