Bing Has Accomplished What Seemed Impossible for Years: Taking a Bite of Google Search's Market Share

Google has lost nearly 10 points of desktop browser market share over the past five years—almost as much as Bing, the winner of the turnaround, has gained.

Bing's rise
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Google seemed invincible for many years—only generative AI has recently challenged its dominance. The truth is that it has been in a slow but steady decline in desktop browser market share for more than five years, according to StatCounter data.

Why it matters. When you say “web search,” you really mean “Google.” In fact, “I’m going to Google it" is a common phrase in our vocabulary. Metonymy—or the use of name of one thing to refer to another, in this case, searching the web—is something that only a few can achieve. Changing that reality can have massive consequences for an entire industry.

There may be something else: If Google loses market share, it’s because someone else is gaining it. And although Yandex has grown a lot during this time, Bing has capitalized on this shift in trend.

Bing's rise

Context. Google is still the undisputed leader, and its problems are the envy of every rival. But that dominance isn’t as overwhelming as it was before the pandemic.

During this time, between imposition as the default option and efforts to improve the product as part of an ecosystem, Microsoft has positioned Bing as a viable alternative and gained ever more trust from users.

Key points:

  • Google had over 91% share a little over five years ago. Now it has just over 80%.
  • Bing has grown relatively steadily. It has gone from a share just over 3% at the end of 2018 to more than 11%.
  • Yahoo! and other search engines maintain a marginal presence.

Edge’s role. Microsoft redoubled its commitment to its browser, first moving it to Chromium to increase its compatibility and versatility and then making it the protagonist of many new features, including generative AI.

Edge’s success has also allowed it to drive many users to its browser. There are more details, but this is the primary explanation for this evolution.

In perspective. While Google continues to dominate, the trend over the past few years suggests a more competitive search engine market than we’re used to. Not to mention the bite that conversational bots like ChatGPT are taking out of the search market.

Bing’s growth shows that there’s room for innovation and change even in a seemingly saturated market. Of course, the resources Microsoft needed to do take a bite out of Google's market share aren’t available to everyone.

Image: Mockuuups Studio, Xataka On

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