While Google still retains the lion’s share of searches, Bing is beginning to represent a practical alternative to Google.
In the past year, Google’s search engine has continued its slide as more consumers have shifted to Bing, according to data from Compete. Microsoft, primarily representing Bing, increased its US search market share about 75%, from 9.7% in May 2010 to 17% in May 2011.
In the same time period, Google lost 14% of its search market share, dropping from 73.9% to 63.6%.
Why are consumers shifting?
- Loss of search relevance. Compounding Google’s woes, their search engine’s accuracy rates have dropped and their results seem to contain a greater number of spammy links. Bing’s success rates now enjoy a 16% lead over Google’.
- Consumer and government distrust. The number of privacy violations Google has been censured for in countries around the world is staggering. Services like Buzz and Street View, as well as the stealth collection of consumer data from private networks have made the company a star player in trampling consumer privacy.
- The company’s stated goals. In comments made at the Washington Ideas Forum in Oct. 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt made several candid statements:
- “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” The problem with trying to balance on the creepy line is that you’ll inevitably take some steps on the wrong side – as evidenced with Buzz, Street View, etc.
- “The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists, [to protect incumbent interests] it’s shocking how the system actually works.” – Which also explains why in 2010, Google’s lobbying funds shot up by 29% over 2009 spend to $5.2 million[i] to sway lawmakers in their favor, and in the favor of writing legislation to suit Google’s interests.
- “With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less now what you’re thinking about.”
As concerning as this last quote is overall, the phrase ‘with your permission’ speaks to very heart of the issue, and Google comes out on the wrong side far too often. Google did not request permission to Buzz us. They did not request permission to photo our homes, yards, and everything else captured and exposed through Street View. They did not request permission to drive by homes and tap into private networks to collect information. They did not request permission to access, store, and use in any way a company may deem fit today – or tomorrow – most of your information. They just took it.
If Google’s privacy standards offend you, you’re not alone. In response to the question,”People are treating Google like their most trusted friend…should they be?” and Schmidt’s answer of, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,”Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s director of community development provided a link to the Firefox extension that adds Bing to Firefox’s search engine list. In an entry on his personal blog, Dotzler said “Here’s how you can easily switch Firefox’s search from Google to Bing”. The link he included leads to the Bing search add-on.
Using the better search engine, particularly when combined with Microsoft’s vastly superior privacy policies and practices (see my disclosure[ii]) simply stack up to a smarter, safer, and more respectful choice.
If you haven’t used Bing in a while, give it a try http://www.bing.com/.
[ii] I worked for the company, though never on their search team, for 13 years before leaving 4 ½ years ago.