“‘Google’ that Google enjoys. Their entire user base

“‘Google’ is synonymous with search…”. (Lohr, 1) It’s a reality
that I have personally been born into and one that many people have lived to
realize. For as long as I can remember, Google has been the top dog for
internet searches. For Microsoft to enter that realm will be a tough challenge
and one that may require them to get creative with how they separate themselves
from google. 

I don’t find there to be a significant difference in the search
results between Google and Bing. Not that they necessarily gave me the same
results but that both results answered my question or sufficiently gave me what
I was looking for. The biggest difference I found was more in the small
details. Both had ads in their results but the more relevant results weren’t
organized on the same part of the web page. Regardless of the similarities, I
personally prefer to use Google over Bing. The biggest factor over everything
is convenience. Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers available
and is considered among the best as well (Ellis, Cox). It was built to be compatible
with every other Google service like Gmail, YouTube, etc. and these are all
services that I have been using for so long that it is more convenient for me
to use a browser that has those services conveniently located at just a click
away.

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At its core, the two services are undifferentiated. Both Google
and Bing are search engines. So, since Google has been around for longer and is
better established, Bing is unquestionably the underdog in this battle against
Google. It’s a very expensive battle they face as well, “Trying to go
head-to-head with Google costs Microsoft upward of $5 billion a year…” (Lohr,
1) as estimated by analysts and executives. However, if there is any company
fit to take on those costs to topple Google, it would be Microsoft. The biggest
challenge for Bing to overcome if it is to find success isn’t the financial
requirements, it’s the behavioral advantage that Google enjoys. Their entire
user base has been using Google services for long enough to have most of their
information tied up somewhere in a Google database. Be it Gmail, Google Chrome,
YouTube, or even Google Drive, these services have become so integrated in people’s
lives that unseating them will require Bing to break the habit of associating
Google with so many aspects of everyday life. For Bing to catch up to Google,
they will need to focus on what separates them from Google. Microsoft has a
good core of team members behind Bing that are accomplished project managers
and programmers (Lohr, 2,3) that they have the resources to make Bing into a
competing search engine. This is critical because, as Paul Graham says, “Good programmers want to work with other
good programmers.” (Graham, 1) and Microsoft having a good core team and good
programmers will naturally continue to attract good talent and help them chip
away at Google’s share of the industry. A big aspect of Bing that separates
them is Bing becoming a “…decision engine…” (Lohr, 3) over a search engine.
They are tailoring Bing to deliver specific search results unique to the user
as opposed to search results that are simply pertaining to the search keywords
and not necessarily to the user. The aim is for Bing to be used when users have
specific questions about flights or medical knowledge. “In Bing, the most
visible evidence of the decision-engine concept is the ability to aggregate and
present specific kinds of information in a search result”. (Lohr, 4) Bing’s
rise has been due to their constant innovations, improving the search quality
and features such as a stylish homepage. While these have helped Bing
distinguish itself from Google, Google is also innovating. So, to catchup to
Google, Bing must continue to innovate and continue to focus on the additional
aspects and features of their search engine. They have a “…30 percent share in
the United States…” (Lohr, 7) so they have made good progress, but have a long
journey ahead. I feel that they are well equipped to catchup to Google and that
it is possible for Bing. At the very least they can establish themselves as a
solid alternate search engine for other needs than a general web search, almost
making their own niche search engine industry.

Bing isn’t the first to try to
dethrone the king of search. Google did the very same to Yahoo. Although, I
feel that it was more about Yahoo making the necessary mistakes to allow Google
to take over the industry. They had a significant foothold over Google but
seemingly became complacent and didn’t take the threat of Google seriously
until it was too late. As Paul Graham says, “I remember telling David Filo in
late 1998 or early 1999 that Yahoo should buy Google…” “…He told me that it
wasn’t worth worrying about. Search was only 6% of our traffic, and we were
growing at 10% a month. It wasn’t worth doing better.” Advertisements on the Yahoo
website was the biggest source of revenue but since, according to graham, the
companies were overpaying for the ads it wasn’t a reliable source. Graham
called it “…a de facto Ponzi scheme.” Additionally, they didn’t treat Yahoo as
a tech company. They hired people not based on their programming skills like
most tech companies but rather whoever was “good enough”. “Microsoft (back in
the day), Google, and Facebook have all been obsessed with hiring the best
programmers. Yahoo wasn’t. They preferred good programmers to bad ones, but
they didn’t have the kind of single-minded, almost obnoxiously elitist focus on
hiring the smartest people that the big winners have had.” Neglecting the areas
for potential growth and being content with the current status of Yahoo led to
the complacent atmosphere and ultimately was the downfall of the company. 

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