Bing is making inroads against Google’s popular search engine, however Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi has admitted that it’s hard for users to break the Google habit.
Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mehdi, Microsoft’s Vice President of Online Audience Business, accepted that the company has “a long ways to go in terms of what we want to accomplish.” Microsoft’s decision engine, Bing, commands 11.2% of the U.S. search market compared to Google’s 66.1%. “Data is the lifeblood of what we’re about” said Medhi. The Bing chief revealed that the company has 100 different versions of Bing live at any given moment with 100,000s of keywords tracking real-time how the search engine is working. “How we run as a business is all based on data” he added.
Medhi’s discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit was also shared with Google’s President of Global sales, Operations and Business developement, Nikesh Arora. Both were sat separated by fellow panelish John Hayes of American Express. Mehdi admitted that it’s difficult to stop users opting for Google each time they search. “It’s a hard thing. Habits die hard.” According to data from Comscore, Microsoft’s Bing has lost traction in the U.S. from June when it had 12.7% of market share to September where it stands at 11.2%. Despite the loss of traction, Bing’s market share has increased from the 9% it shared in September 2009.
Microsoft has been introducing a number of new Bing enhancements that include integration with Facebook, Bing Maps transit directions and constant UI improvements. Microsoft announced in late August that Bing is now powering Yahoo! searches in the U.S. and Canada. Bing is expected to transition to a HTML5 powered version in the coming months with animated home pages, smooth transitions and new animations (see video below).