Microsoft and Yahoo! have finally joined forces and combined their search offering, Yahoo! natural search will now be provided by Microsoft’s newly launched Bing search engine.
In natural search terms this means we now have two main contenders for the UK search market, Google and Bing, with the two smaller forces (Yahoo and Microsoft) now working together, they have the opportunity to build their share of the search market as a single identity, lets hope two heads really are better than one in this instance.
Bing has certainly seen an increase in visitors throughout June (according to Hitwise data) due mainly to searchers curiosity, but in terms of volume of searches still ranks below Yahoo! Google retains 90% of the search market, but this 10 year tie-up will hopefully allow the two companies to combine their search innovations and build a search engine to rival that of Google.
We hope this collaboration will result in ongoing improvement to the Bing engine, although it has to be said that had Yahoo! had the resources to keep up their development it would have made for a much more competitive marketplace, which has to be good for users, but with Google so far ahead in terms of development will Bing just be playing catch up for next ten years, or do they have some smart ideas up their sleeves? With the increasing use of technologies such as semantic search and video/audio search there are certainly opportunities for the newly invigorated Bing to steal a march on Google, but Google will be out to innovate in these areas as fast as its competition and its enormous advantage in terms of habitual user base and brand awareness will be hard to overturn.
It will be interesting to see how the two companies will combine their search knowledge if at all, and what new tools will become available to searchers.
A partnership with Bing could well bring some big changes to the natural search industry, we will certainly keeping a keen eye on further developments and how search engine optimisation adapts to the new innovations this partnership brings.