Andy Atkins-Kruger

Google Buzz Is Off As Bing Bites

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.

Key Sources of Further Information

Google’s Buzz Fails to Unite Opinions

Bing Increased Share of U.S. Search Market in January

Yahoo talks tough about its search business

Bing Gains in January – WSJ

Google Buzz: The Good, Bad, & Ugly Reactions

Google Buzz: Google Takes On Twitter, Facebook & Even Foursquare

January Search Results In! Bing Keeps Gaining Share, Everyone Else Loses

Andy Atkins-Kruger
Andy is trained linguist with 20 years experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. In 1997, he began to focus on international SEO and a couple of years later paid search. As head of marketing for a pan-European brand leader, he was responsible for promoting the company throughout Europe in the late '90s and needed a multilingual SEO solution. The result was the business now known as Webcertain, which Andy later acquired becoming its Managing Director in 2002. WebCertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Following Andy's experience in running multi-country PR campaigns in the '80s, Webcertain centralises campaigns in many languages and employs a team of native speakers that covers all major European, Scandinavian and Far Eastern languages. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world, writes for the Multinational Search column of SearchEngineLand.com and is the Managing Editor of the Multilngual Search blog.

3 Responses to Google Buzz Is Off As Bing Bites

  1. Steven Duque says:

    My thoughts on Google buzz in a recent post on my blog:

    http://stevenduque.com/2010/02/the-buzz-around-google-buzz/

  2. Pingback: Can Google Create Enough Buzz to Swarm Facebook & Twitter? | Word to the Word

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