Microsoft (MSFT) Bing-powered searches finally broke 30 percent share of U.S. searches, according to Experian Hitwise. Furthermore, Microsoft and Yahoo (YHOO), which also uses Bing, kept the lead they've had in success rate, a measure of the percentage of consumers who find what they're looking for from a search.
Bing-powered search has been gaining ground for months, apparently at Google's expense, as the table below shows:
As interesting as the market share numbers are the success rate figures. Experian defines the term as the percentage of searches that result in the user going to a website listed in the results. Given that both Bing and Google display certain types of data -- temperature at a given location, for example -- without clicking a link, a 100 percent success rate is virtually impossible to achieve.
Curiously, Google made a show of changing its algorithms to better control how high in search results so-called low quality websites appeared and, presumably, improve its success rates. One of the driving reasons was complaints from consumers that search results had become more filled with spam and less useful.
Today, Google rolled out the algorithm changes beyond the U.S. to English language searches in the rest of the world. The company is also making greater use of lists of blocked sites generated by a relatively new feature in Chrome.
Not that long ago, many people scoffed at the idea of Microsoft competing in search. Bing still has a long way to go to actually take the lead in search share, but Google's potential vulnerability seems far clearer.
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