Oct 182010

Bangalore: The big guys in the search engine market are on their toes now to take on each other. While there are lots of players on the market battling to survive the tidy waves of the competition, market leaders like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing are betting for the crown with their different approaches to win over users.

Unlike the previous battles, when the focus was on the real-time results, the players today are exploring new possibilities in order to win the heart and clicks of their users. The war heated up last week when Bing announced its integration with the world’s top social networking web site, Facebook. The new Facebook integration features in Bing include displaying Facebook ‘likes’ from the user’s friends in the search results.

Google is not lagging behind as well. The recently launched ‘Google Instant’ is the best example of its efforts to improve its web-based search results. ‘Google Instant’, shows the results as the user types the keywords in the search box. Infect Google is continuing its leadership by expanding its services. The search giant has taken a new ‘avatar’ of a media baron by entering the media market with Google TV, the mobile phone operating system market with the Android and the netbook market with the upcoming Google OS.

Statistics also tells the same story putting Google at the top. According to Internet research firm comScore, Google and its related sites processed 66.1 percent of U.S. searches in September. Yahoo sites fell 0.7 percent to capture 16.7 percent of the market, while searches on Microsoft sites remained flat at 11.2 percent.

According to Market Share, the top global search engine for the month of May 2010 is Google with 84.8 percent of global searches. Yahoo came in second with 6.19 percent, Bing took third with 3.24 percent, Baidu (a Chinese and Japanese search engine) captured fourth with 3.16 percent and Ask rounded off the top five with 0.75 percent of the world’s search engine market share. But the current rivalry and intense competition between Google and Bing has thrown a shadow over Yahoo. Few years back, Yahoo did try to give its information services a human touch by encouraging users to ‘tag’ information they find interesting on the web, which didn’t turn out to be a success story for the internet portal company.

Yahoo is trying to bring out a lot more changes even now. In the beginning of October, Yahoo closed the SearchMonkey developer tool, gallery, and app preferences to intensify their own site markup to produce similar results. Apart from this, Yahoo has also decided to shift its BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) platform to a fee-based model in early 2011. BOSS lets external developers build custom search engines on top of the company’s search infrastructure.

It’s true that all the major players in the search engine market are trying to get the highest market share with new and innovative ideas. The key areas that the search engines have been trying to improve over the last few months to tap the market include speed of site, mobile search, social media optimisation, personalized search, linking, richer search listings and new developments like Google’s infrastructure update. Google now supports multi-content XML Sitemaps, where the user can specify the different types of content for each URL, all in one XML Sitemap.

If we go with market figures, it’s Google and Bing which are on rise. Going back to the comScore data, Google has risen by 1.2 percent over the last 16 months, while Yahoo and AOL together have lost 4.4 percent. Although, Microsoft’s Bing has risen by 2.9 percent, it hardly bridges Google’s massive lead. Undoubtedly, Google is the leader today but no one can predict what happens next. So, fingers are crossed!

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