When Yahoo dropped Google results in favor of its own Inktomi generated listings, the search world expected Yahoo to gain some ground in market share. While this did in fact happen, the increase was relatively insignificant, and Google remained on top. Now that MSN has released its own search technology and no longer relies on Inktomi based results, will they see a significant increase in users?
My personal opinion is no. Sure their market share may increase, but I doubt, in the short term anyways, that they will make any significant increases to overtake Google. I’ll use myself as an example. I personally look at search results across the big three on a daily basis across a wide range of industries. In my opinion (and I am sure many SEO’s and webmasters will back me up on this) MSN now provides better, more accurate and relevant search results. That being said, I still use Google for my personal searching.
Whether I am at home, or in the office, Google is my search engine of choice. My wife uses Google, most of my friends and family use Google, and lets face it, the majority of searchers worldwide use Google. So why, if MSN is providing better results, do I still revert back to Google, knowing that I will most likely have to filter through a bunch of rubbish.
I think this is due to a number of factors. For years now I’ve been using Google, dating back to before I entered this industry, at a time when Google was providing relevant results. So a big part of this is habit. My fingers automatically type Google.com whether I like it or not. My default home page is set to Google. The only toolbar I have installed is the Google toolbar. This began for the checking of Page Rank, but now I use it almost exclusively for its search field.
Even though I know MSN provides better results (in most cases) I still use Google. This makes me think that the general public, many of which are unaware that MSN has changed, will also stick with Google. Behavior patterns are hard to break - although a month late, perhaps I will make it my new years resolution to stop using Google.
Part of the draw to use Google is the cleanliness of the site. Even though MSN has released, along with its new results, a new look and feel, it may still seem too cluttered, and many times slow loading, for users looking to simply perform a basic search.
The general searching public likely doesn’t realize that results from one engine are more relevant than that from another, or that the results generated in MSN were once duplicates of what you would find in Yahoo. Many tend to stick with what they know - they’ve always used Google, and as they haven’t “shopped around” so to speak, don’t realize that the other engines may have more to offer. Old habits are hard to break - and until such a time as a “quit Google patch” is invented, many may be there to stay.