This month has yielded two interesting developments in the search area. Namely Google’s acquisition of Metaweb and more importantly their semantic indexing engine, and the announcement that Yahoo are to begin live testing of Bing results in the Yahoo portal over the next couple of months. Both are interesting in their own right, however there […]
This month has yielded two interesting developments in the search area. Namely Google’s acquisition of Metaweb and more importantly their semantic indexing engine, and the announcement that Yahoo are to begin live testing of Bing results in the Yahoo portal over the next couple of months.
Both are interesting in their own right, however there are other factors at play that really highlight their importance.
Firstly, Google’s acquisition of Metaweb presents a very interesting proposition, as not only will it give them new methods of refining their semantic indexing processes to more accurately associate any given thing with its synonyms, but it will also give them the opportunity to potentially put one over on their rivals at Microsoft. To explain, for some time now Bing has been using Metaweb’s Freebase information to display further supplementary information within its search results. For example, a search in Bing for “Tony Blair” now reveals that he is exactly 30 years older than me. Not a terribly interesting fact I grant you, however it provides a good example of being provided with additional information that you may not have necessarily sought out.
Whilst both Google and Metaweb have announced that the Freebase source of this data will remain open, I would imagine there are a few nervous Bing Search Executives. Google not only has the potential to inflict some serious one-upmanship through their own integration of Metaweb’s indexing processes into Google’s search results, but Google also effectively hold the keys to it as well. Given that Bing went to some lengths to publicise this new facet to their search results, it must be slightly galling to know that it only remains through the grace of Google who could potentially switch it off at a moments notice.
The second development, namely Yahoo’s live testing of Bing search results is possibly more remarkable for what it represents rather than what it actually is. Whilst I am very curious to see this integration in action, namely to check if it’s simply a re-skinning of Bing’s results for the Yahoo portal or if there has been any significant improvement in results relevancy, I find the continuing implications of the effective increase in Bing’s market share far more interesting.
As of last month, according to Comscore, Bing’s US market share increased by 0.6pc whilst its UK share remained pretty much static; however by providing Bing results in Yahoo they will have effectively doubled their current share of both the UK and US search markets. Admittedly whilst it sounds good on paper, in the UK this effectively results in a mere 2.55% increase from 2.98% to 5.53%, nowhere near Google’s 91.7% market dominance. That said, in the US it will increase their current 12.10% share by Yahoo’s 18.30% to 30.40%, getting on for a third of the market and putting them in range of their 30-40% goal.
Looking at both of these developments as a whole, whilst it is quite clear that the big three are continuing to strive towards bigger and better things, it will be most interesting to see if any of these efforts actually translate into improved search results.
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