Call It ‘Microsoft Googlefication Day’ One More Time and I’m Telling Ballmer
With the details of planned changes to Microsoft’s Live Search already revealed by a hapless product manager a few days back, the most interesting things coming out of Microsoft Searchification Day 2007 today are the metrics.
Citing independent statistics, Microsoft claims Live Search has 70 million users per month and reaches 38% of all search-engine users. Those are respectable numbers–on the face of things. Problem is, Live Search’s search market share is much lower–just 11% or so. Why? Those 70 million users don’t use Live Search with anything close to regularity. The average Live Search user performs just 15 searches on the site per month. The average Google user performs 55.
So while Microsoft may reach 38% of all search-engine users, it does so occasionally. And let’s be frank here, 70 million occasional Live Search visitors submitting a dozen or so queries a month isn’t going to catch Microsoft up to Google, which racked up 9.8 billion searches in August.
So how does Microsoft propose to narrow Google’s massive lead in online search? Same way as it did back in 2005, when Google only accounted for about 34% of all Web searches. Increase the number of documents in its search index, improve query relevance and do a better job of recognizing common abbreviations and misspellings, among other things.
But those improvements didn’t win over Google loyalists in 2005, and there’s little reason to believe they’ll do so now, either. “Habits are hard to break, and it is especially hard to break good habits,” Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, told the New York Times. “If you’ve had a good experience with Google, you have little reason to switch.”