Bing’s search market share remains unchanged despite significant AI efforts.

Bing's search market share remains unchanged despite significant AI efforts.

Bing AI: A Promising Venture

Bing AI

Microsoft’s Bing AI has been making waves as an innovative and exciting way to enhance search with the power of artificial intelligence (AI). However, despite generating curiosity and interest, the new capabilities of Bing have failed to significantly boost Microsoft’s market share in the search engine arena.

In February 2023, Microsoft introduced Bing AI Chat in a limited release, requiring interested users to join a waitlist. By May, the waitlist was eliminated, opening up Bing Chat to the wider public. Although the AI had limited availability for the initial three months, it has been more accessible since then. Unfortunately, this increased availability hasn’t translated into a significant boost for Bing’s market share, according to the latest statistics.

Market intelligence firm Statcounter reports Bing’s global search engine share at 2.99% in July, a slight decline from 3.03% in January. Conversely, web analytics firm Similarweb shows a marginal increase in Bing’s share from 2.76% in April to 3.23% in June. These numbers indicate a relatively stable market share for Bing throughout the first half of the year.

While these statistics may seem disheartening for Microsoft, they maintain that the new Bing has been a success. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the company disputes the data from the analytics companies, claiming that their numbers do not capture all the people who directly visit Bing’s chat page.

However, Statcounter, Similarweb, and YipitData affirm that their data considers traffic to and from Bing Chat. David F. Carr, senior insights manager for Similarweb, explains that although there may be some missing interactions recorded, they are not significant enough to alter the overall perception of Bing’s market performance.

A Microsoft spokesperson also addressed the matter, sharing that Bing has exceeded 100 million daily active users. They further revealed that Bing’s usage signals indicate strong growth, with customers engaging in over a billion chats and creating more than 750 million images with Bing Image Creator. While internal numbers may show greater growth than reflected in third-party data, the company remains optimistic about Bing’s trajectory.

Since its launch in 2009, Bing has faced an uphill battle against Google, whose global market share has remained consistently high, hovering around 90%. Search is a critical revenue driver for Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and other companies, primarily through advertising. In 2022, Google raked in an impressive $162 billion from search-related ads, while Bing generated around $11 billion.

Recognizing the growing buzz around generative AI, Microsoft strategically integrated its chatbot into the Edge browser and the mobile Bing app. Through these platforms, users can engage with the AI bot to ask questions, seek information, and even generate content. Recently, Microsoft expanded the reach of Bing AI from Edge to other browsers like Chrome and Safari in an effort to attract more users.

Beyond textual interactions, Bing AI also excels in image interpretation. With its visual search feature, users can submit photos or other images and ask Bing to interpret them or provide information about them. Additionally, an enterprise version of Bing AI caters to large organizations wanting to offer and manage the use of the chatbot among their employees.

To maintain their dominance, Google has been testing the integration of AI into their search engine. Currently available as a Google Labs experiment, Search Generative Experience (SGE) aims to enhance traditional search results using AI-generated summaries, sources, and suggested follow-up questions.

The big question remains: Can AI effectively entice more users to rely on traditional search engines? And, which search engines will emerge as victors in this contest? Max Gomez, chief marketing officer of digital marketing firm The HOTH, weighs in on the matter.

“The challenge lies in determining which tool users will predominantly use for their searches,” says Gomez. “When users have a clear idea of their search intent, they will likely gravitate towards Google. This is further supported by the introduction of SGE on the search engine results page, suggesting that Google encourages comprehensive search queries beyond the traditional ones that solely focus on brand terms. On the other hand, I foresee a trend where users will increasingly turn to AI for specific answers, especially when exploring unfamiliar topics or specialized tasks like coding and programming.”

As the battle for search engine supremacy continues, Bing’s foray into AI with Bing Chat is an intriguing and promising venture. While its market share may not have experienced a significant surge yet, Microsoft’s commitment to AI-powered search suggests that Bing has a bright future ahead.