Microsoft network cannot still go beyond the Google, the search engine giant, in the Internet search market. Its new Bing Internet search engine, which it showed publicly for the first time will still provide search results for any term an online user types into it. But Bing is initially designed to provide a much richer search experience for people looking for information in four categories: shopping, travel, health and local businesses.
The strategy could give Microsoft a shot at peeling away users from rival search engines in some popular search areas that also offer lucrative opportunities for selling related advertising. But even if Microsoft is successful, it still faces the problem that Google and Yahoo could simply duplicate Bing’s features. Search engines have a long history of copying each other’s interface changes. In recent years, for example, all of them have begun suggesting related search terms and blending more photos and videos into their search results. “If some particular feature becomes particularly popular, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult for Google to mimic that feature,” says Greg Sterling, an Internet analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence, a research firm.
Bing faces another challenge as well: Microsoft’s own research shows that more than 60% of consumers say they are satisfied with existing Internet search engines. That doesn’t bode well for the company’s efforts to eat into Google’s 64% share of the U.S. search market, which far outstrips Yahoo’s 20% share and Microsoft’s 8%, according to comScore Inc. Microsoft’s approach of going after the four search categories mirrors attempts others have made to compete with Google by building so-called “vertical” search engines, which specialize in showing results in categories where Google’s results are perceived to be weak.