Google may have a new competitor to contend with, as it watched its search share in the UK dip below 90 percent in October for the first time in five years. According to experts, if this share loss continues Microsoft’s Bing search engine will have overtaken Google by February 2016.
The threat is small, for now. Indeed, the dip might even be considered insignificant for some, as Google’s UK search share went from 90.74 percent in September to 89.33 percent, a fall of 1.41 percentage points. Bing, on the other hand, upped its share to 4.71 percent, an increase of 0.72 percentage points. Search engine Yahoo picked up almost all of the remaining percentage points of Google’s loss, with Ask and some other engines getting a small amount as well.
Although Bing is still losing millions every quarter, Experian, which owns the Internet tracking company Hitwise, notes that Bing has raised its search share by almost one full percentage point in 2012, with October representing a peak in search share percentage.
Experian suggests that one reason behind Google’s dip and Bing’s improvement is Microsoft’s launch of Windows 8 in October, where Bing is the default search engine.
Since Windows 8 was not officially launched until October 25th, it seems unlikely that there was enough time for Windows 8 users to suddenly switch from Google to Bing. However, this could affect the search share results of November, and Bing could see a further rise in percentage points if users keep it as their default instead of setting it to Google.
Experian digital insights manager James Murray suggests that one reason for the change is that people are changing their search patterns. Increasingly, people are searching through social media sites, with Facebook being the largest one. Facebook’s default search engine is Bing.
“That could be part of it,” says Murray. “People are looking these days for the best and most relevant search results. I think Bing, which has been a minor player, is starting to come to prominence.”