Microsoft’s Director of Search, Stefan Weitz, claims traditional search is faling.
The Bing worker criticized Google in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. Weitz says end users should expect more out of search and claims Bing’s competitors are failing to keep up with the changing needs of users. “When Google launched, they wanted to organize the world’s information, that was their mantra — it still is,” Weitz said in an interview with Huffington Post. “It was a great vision that assumed really the web of yore, which is a web of documents, literally pages and the connections. Google’s whole mission was to leverage those connections and say, ‘Okay, I can see that the connection between these two pages is almost as important as the page content itself in defining what these things are about’ — it was a brilliant, brilliant model.”
Weitz believes Google’s ten year old model doesn’t work well today. “Search itself hasn’t changed fundamentally in the past 12 years,” he said. “Traditional search is failing. The standard notion of search … looking at the texts in the page, the backlinks, all that stuff doesn’t work anymore.” Bing has slowly been gaining market share in the U.S. market recently. The software giant’s “decision engine” now has 14.1% U.S. market share compared to Google’s 65.4% according to data from comScore. Bing grew faster in October than Google and has continued to rise recently. Bing reached an all time high of 11.8% market share in November but has improved upon the figure between December and April.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, compared Bing to a weed in January. “We bet on Bing and are growing like a weed in that business. So I feel pretty good about the bets,” said Ballmer. The comparison of Bing to a weed is a rather accurate one. Microsoft has shown it isn’t afraid to ensure Bing is everywhere. The software giant has pushed two minute video demos of Bing on iPhones, released Bing iPhone games and ensured Bing is making its way to the latest Toyota line of cars. Microsoft also introduced a special Bing for iPad application in April. The constant iteration and product updates also keeps Bing high in the mind-share of users. Microsoft appears to have followed Google’s approach with a number of UI and feature enhancements in previous months.
Google is not happy about Bing’s approach. The two companies have been trading insults and blog posts over the past six months. Google accused Bing of cheating search results. The two are also in a heated battle over the business productivity space. Microsoft also filed an E.U. antitrust complaint against Google. The complaint is part of an ongoing investigation in the EU into whether Google has violated European competition law. Weitz says that the regulators’ investigation of Google in Europe is understandable, given their market share and power.
“I think whenever you have a player who has, depending on who you’re looking at, two-thirds of the market, it’s natural for regulators to look into this,” he said. “In Germany they have 98 percent share. It’s natural for folks to just look into what’s going on there. This is a place that controls so many people’s livelihoods, you want to make sure its a level playing field.”
Microsoft’s Bing is also tackling Google in the social search arena. The software giant introduced new social features directly inside Bing earlier this week. Users can now receive personalised search results based on recommendations from their Facebook friends. The feature allows users to narrow down their search choices based on what their friends like. Weitz explained that the company’s mission is to deliver knowledge by understanding what the user wants. “We’ve now mapped almost every single square inch of the planet, we know where buildings are, we know who the people are, we know what tasks people are accomplishing — we are literally creating a semantic model, or a model, for everything in the world.”