Thursday, October 14, 2010

Search is turning 'Social'

Microsoft just got a bit cozier with Facebook a new search deal.

Now when you search with Bing, you have the option of using Facebook and Twitter to enhance search results.

Instead of partnering with Facebook, Google appears to be enhancing its social presence by leveraging its current products and with acquisitions.

Which firm is in the best position to win the battle for social search?


  1. With the facebook deal is Microsoft in my opinion a big step ahead of google because if you get information about what your friends like or have written, it is often more important to people than what google calculates with its sophisticated algorithms. What would really lead more people to bing, is if in facebook the search had a symbol like “powered by bing” when you try to find someone or search for someone’s posts. This would probably cause a big loss of traffic for google because bing would then be all the time on their mind.

    But is not all what is going on. There are also rumors where AOL will buy Yahoo or that they will merge. It would mean that bing, Yahoo (powered by bing) and Aol would have a market share of 30.2% and google of 66.1% according to comScore U.S. Search Engine Rankings for September 2010. This could lead to very interesting shifts in the future both in normal search engine market and social search.

  2. I'm not sure if taking a 1/4 billion equity stake is the typical definition of "partnering". Both Microsoft and Google obviously play a major role in chatting, emailing, etc... but have failed miserably to play any major role in the new `phone directory`. Both have dipped their proverbial toes in the water, with little success. Momentum is everything. If you have easy access to cheap cash, can move quickly, and don`t have the type of culture that is compelled to smoother anything that doesn’t conform - buying would be best.

    Though I think the typical answer would be to partner (it’s the way of the internet and all) answering this question requires an analysis of the complex organizational milieu of detail. If Microsoft bought something, I think they would kill it through assimilation – so it’s probably the best strategy (for them) if they keep things at arm’s length. Google can buy something and embrace the difference – allowing it to pursue an acquisition strategy without the typical negative results. Which horse would you bet on in the long run?

  3. I wonder how Google lost this chance...
    Bing is going to increase its market share for sure. The future is in social media and if this is properly used/applied in smartphones, then Bing will be the dominant player. Bing has already differentiated its search character from Google (travel etc..) and with this step now it will gain a significant advantage.

  4. I don't see deals like this having a big impact until it becomes a default options. Both Google and Microsoft have a ton of 'cool' features that can enhance your online experience, but most of them are hard to find, if not impossible. Until they ram it in your face, or make it the default, I don't think partnerships like this will have any major impact.

  5. yes this is what I say. It will become default eventually, and as you correctly state, it will have then a major impact.

  6. I think a recent Business Insider article on the subject made the key observation about the deal: "Suddenly, Bing Has What Google Doesn't: Data From 500 Million Facebook Users" (
    In terms of longer-term impact on search, I believe that "social" will be an important element, but not the cure for everything.

  7. I think it is too soon to bet on a generalization of "social search" and on how much market share Google will lose ...
    And I am questioning on Google's priorities ... how strategic is "social" for them in the markets where they are already dominant / monopoly vs. markets with a "challenger" position ? In USA Google has 63% of share of market (comscore), but Google has the monopoly in Europe +80-90% SOM, India (+90%) and a challenger position in Russia, China and Japan. There are different perspectives for each one of these markets, depending on their own position, facebook's position and users profiles, culture etc.etc.

  8. I vote for Bing. Providing search for 500M people on possibly the largest social network makes you a leader in my opinion..

  9. I kinda agree with what Aurora said above.
    In internet space, there are so many different services coming and going. Some makes it really big trend and evoves from it. But some others are there for some time and goes with the wind.
    I agree that Something "Social" is really hot today like social saerch, social commerce, social network, etc. But, I still think it's too early that "Social Search" will be the next big thing so that we cannot assume whoever wins in this battle will win the race eventually.
    Even if it has potential to last long and make a good impact on the current search industry, the traditional search won't perish and both will exist in complementary manner.
    If that's the case, I think that Google, the old king, still has a higher chance of winning the whole race that embarces various search.

  10. Thought this was interesting, and relevant to the discussion...

    "Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up"

  11. Interestingly, this deal may not be about Google vs. Bing, but rather about Google vs. Facebook.

    Facebook is on its way to becoming the de facto desktop of personal computers, making them even more personal! What if Facebook has developing its own search engine on its mind and the Microsoft/Bing partnership is its way of testing the waters? Pure hypothesis, of course, but who knows?

  12. Having the first mover advantage definitely is going to bring a lot to Microsoft, but we should not neglect Google's efforts to tap into this market as well. If Microsoft does not quickly act to implement a strong strategy in terms of barriers to entry or continues progress, Microsoft may rapidly loose its lead position because of the Google's computational and creative capabilities, and search engine popularity. I personally vote for competition and continues improvements.

  13. Given both Facebook's and Microsoft's past/current track record of failing to execute and take advance to of their strengths, I don't have much faith that this is they way their going to beat Google in the Search game. As Aurora pointed out, Google have a signficantly dominating position in terms of market share. I don't see people shifting to Bing or Facebook to search just because they can plug into data from their friends. Although it does have some benefits, I believe for the most part that it's better for searches to be organic. If you're looking for something, you don't want the results biased by your friends influence, you just want to see the most important data that exists.

    Looks to me like Facebook/Microsoft is playing catch-up, while Google, through it's acquisitions and product development, is more forward looking. I expect Google to remain ahead at least for the near future.