Lots of news on the Search front lately.  Wolfram Alpha released their computational knowledge engine.  Microsoft announced their upcoming Bing search engine which is supposed to replace Live search.  Do any of these pose a threat to Google?  I think no.

I don’t think Wolfram Alpha ever intended to challenge Google.  I won’t use that search engine for anything other than if I need a scientific explanation of something, or maybe a graph plot of some mathematical equation.  If anything, I can see Wolfram Alpha being a huge compliment to Google.  Do I smell a buyout?  That would actually be pretty nice!  Considering Google’s stance on education, a Wolfram partnership would go a long way.  Unlike Microsoft, any company or product Google buys actually flourishes.

Bing is trying to be more of a direct threat to Google.  It’s no secret that Google is one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors.  The reason being is typical of Microsoft history.  They tried to take someone else’s idea and make their own version, and assumed people would prefer that version just because it’s made by Microsoft.  In this case, they took too long to come out with something comparable to what Google had.  That’s why Google is synonymous with the term “search” now… “Just Google it”.  What do you think would happen several months from now if somebody said “Just Bing it”?  I would laugh.  Google is already the search king, and has been for over a decade.  People associate the term “search” with “Google”, and that is why it will stay on top.

Since then, Microsoft has been playing catch-up with Google, copying idea after idea… trying to offer a comparable product and some competition.  I personally don’t know anyone who uses Microsoft Live anything.  I’ve signed up for most of their stuff, but only to check it out.  I never use it.  It’s just not cross-brand compatible.  True to Microsoft’s corporate identity, they make it easy to use their stuff with their own products… not so much with anything else.  Google is pretty much brand independent.  They have the luxury of being so because everything they offer is the same.

I have no idea if Bing is actually better than Google.  From the reviews I’ve been reading, it seems like it is.  <conspiracy_theory_alert>That is, of course, assuming the people reviewing haven’t been paid off by Microsoft!</conspiracy_theory_alert>.  This isn’t going to matter, for three reasons:

  1. Bing is still made by Microsoft and for that reason alone, most people will not like it due to Microsoft’s corporate identity.
  2. Google’s search engine is due for a major update.  They announced Wave, but that’s not it.  I have a hunch something else is coming.  Something big.
  3. Google=Search.  That will be very hard to overthrow.  For the same reason that for the longest time, Microsoft=PC.  Also, I don’t think Google will make the same mistakes Microsoft did.

The only thing Microsoft has going for it is it’s market share.  While still at a staggeringly high 87.90% as of this posting, it has been declining and it should be noted that it’s at it’s lowest percentile ever.  It will be interesting to see how Microsoft uses this influence to roll out Bing.

I really hate those market share numbers because most people aren’t given a choice or would use whatever they were told to or taught on.