It’s a sad thing when a company is so anxious about a product or other offering that it deludes itself about the prospects of its success. It’s as if the people there are the victim of their own hype.
Worse still, is when the people in the reporting press get a load of the hype, and report on it as if it was the gospel. This is something though, that with Microsoft, happens often.
This time it is on gHacks, where the story begins with news of the transition we had been told was coming – where the sheep clothing comes off, and Yahoo becomes Bing with no pretenses. (This is the endgame of Yahoo, it is the beginning of the fade into our collective memories.)
Yahoo and Microsoft have been testing Bing powered search results offline for some time now. A recent email sent out to advertisers confirmed that the testing will be moved to the live search results shortly.
During that period part of Yahoo’s Live search results will be powered by Bing, “with paid search volume in particular kept low enough to help minimize any potential impact” to Yahoo advertiser accounts.
Yahoo aims for a transition in the August / September timeframe for Bing powered organic search results if the “testing continues to yield high quality results”.
What does that mean for the search engine market? It means that Microsoft’s Bing will increase its search volume closing the gap to Google, which is dominating search.
I see it as sad that the way Bing’s level of use is being increased is rather underhanded – people are having their search that did use Google by default, substituting Bing, as is the case with those users of Verizon Wireless. That is where the change in search volume is originating, it is not a number of people deciding, en masse, that Bing is suddenly a better choice.
The total market share depends on how the data is accumulated. Google is usually listed with a market share between 65% and 85%, Bing with 3% to 10% and Yahoo between 6% and 15%. In best case, Bing will increase its search engine reach to 25% of the total market share, Barry Schwartz at the Search Engine Land website even sees Bing powering 30% of paid and organic search queries globally after the transition finishes.
What does it mean for search engine visitors? The search results will ultimately be the same on Bing and Yahoo Search. The only differences are the additional features that are offered on the two search engine websites.
It is likely that Yahoo users will continue to use Yahoo for their searches, considering that they are likely using other Yahoo features such as Yahoo Mail as well, some might switch to Bing if they do not use any Yahoo services, others might switch to Google because of search result differences.
Microsoft Bing, with the additional data provided by Yahoo Search, may be able to improve the quality of the search results which could improve the search engine’s market share in the long run.
It is only a matter of time before Yahoo will be gone, when Microsoft tightens the screws. Until then, it will be like watching a television series that you know has been cancelled, but that the network has decided to show the final episodes.
The logo above will soon morph into Bing, or the one below…