Chinese war guru, Sun Tzu, who wrote the “Art of War” would have been shaking his head in dismay at the launch of Google Buzz earlier this week. Whilst Wall Street was rubbing its hands in glee at the prospect of a ComScore announcement showing that Bing had gained market share, Google was launching ‘Buzz’ – but not exactly in a fully polished and finished state. If Google hoped to upstage the Bing advance – they did it with a certain apparent lack of preparation. As Sun Tzu says, “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”
Here are the data results:
ComScore‘s US January data was released on Tuesday with the following results:
- Google – dropped from 65.7% in December to 65.4% in January
- Yahoo – dropped from 17.3% in December to 17% in January
- Bing – increased from 10.7% in December to 11.3% in January
- Ask – increased from 3.7% in December to 3.8% in January
- AOL – dropped from 2.6% in December to 2.5% in January
- BingHoo (Combined Bing/Yahoo figures) increased from 28% in December to 28.3% in January
Hitwise‘s Data was released on Wednesday with the following results:
- Google – dropped from 72.2% in December to 71.5% in January
- Yahoo – dropped from 14.8% in December to 14.6% in January
- Bing – increased from 8.9% in December to 9.4% in January
- Ask – increased from 2.5% in December to 2.6% in January
- BingHoo (Combined Bing/Yahoo figures) – increased from 23.7% in December to 24% in January
Whilst it is odd that two such august bodies as Hitwise and ComScore can come with figures that are so different – with Hitwise giving Google by far the biggest lead – what is reassuring is that both sets of statistics position the engines in roughly the same positions thereby validating each other. Both confirm a .3% advance for the Microsoft/Yahoo partnership.
Meanwhile, Google launched it’s Google Buzz product just as the Hitwise Experian and ComScore figures for January were permeating the press and blogosphere showing an increase for Bing – and also for Bing-Yahoo combined. Coincidence? Actually, it probably was a coincidence – but the Google Buzz product nonetheless seems to have been a little rushed to market with many features and facilities just not quite complete. Seems a shame that the name ‘Buzz’ was chosen as that wasn’t really how to launch a product which needs -ahem- buzz.
Meanwhile, whilst the figures are not that different to the run rate last year, with the exception of the Yahoo decline, they do demonstrate that Bing has not reached a plateau and has not been knocked out of the contest. Many commentators point out that Microsoft is spending large advertising budgets to promote Bing. But then others say advertising can’t shift search share and – anyway – Google just advertised in the middle of the Superbowl. (That’s an American sporting event, by the way – nothing to do with cooking).
Sun Tzu also said, “I have heard of military operations that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen one that was skillful and lasted a long time!” In other words, sometimes it’s better to be a little clumsy and get their first which is perhaps what Google is trying to do. But wait, almost all of the features of Google Buzz already exist in either Yahoo or Bing products? And Facebook and Twitter are doing very nicely thank you.
Maybe Google has a strategy of launching as many things as possible as quickly as possible even at the risk of being a little unprepared on the basis that eventually the enemy will be worn down. Meanwhile, Bing’s strategy seems much more enigmatic, not saying a lot but quietly making a few improvements, straightening out a few alliances and generally preparing for battle and playing the long game.
You have the feeling that it is actually Bing at the moment who is following Sun Tsu’s other advice, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” Bing it seems is choosing not to fight – yet.
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