Google Search Battles On

In the lucrative search market, Google may have the lion’s share but Yahoo and Microsoft, the other major players, are continually seeking ways to undercut that dominance. Now we hear that Microsoft Plans Major Ad Push Around New Search Engine; Is The Name Bing?

AdAge previously reported that Microsoft was planning a major ad campaign to promote a relaunch of Live Search this spring. It now says that Microsoft will spend between $80 and $100 million on advertising, almost double the amount typically spent on the launch of a consumer product. The campaign will span TV, print, and online. It is so large that ad firm JWT is actually hiring while most of its competitors are shedding employees. AdAge says the campaign will “focus on planting the idea that today’s search engines don’t work as well as consumers previously thought by asking them whether search (aka Google) really solves their problems.”

Google would strongly refute that message, perhaps by pointing out that it offers More Search Options.

We have spent a lot of time looking at how we can better understand the wide range of information that’s on the web and quickly connect people to just the nuggets they need at that moment. We want to help our users find more useful information, and do more useful things with it.

We are announcing a new set of features that we call Search Options, which are a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?

That approach may well counter the Microsoft challenge. After all powerful advertising campaigns do not necessarily mean that the new Microsoft Search – Bing, Kuomo or whatever it is called – will be any better than the previous Live Search that has been notoriously erratic.

What Google Search Options may not do is help in the more heated arena where Google battles Facebook.

Google increasingly sees social networks such as Facebook as challengers to its search engine. As people search out advice online for everyday, personal decisions, the standard list of links served up by Google is not seen as intimate or trustworthy. For decisions such as choosing a restaurant or a day care provider, social networking sites or known review sites have an advantage, said Google Group Product Manager Ken Tokusei. Such sites offer information from friends or acquaintances, and users tend to trust that information more.

Google does allow users to add opinions to search results but this approach really has not gained any traction. However I believe the key battle-ground is regular search where Microsoft will pitch its Bing. I believe Google is in a position to adopt an approach that the others will have a very hard time matching. This will be outlined in a follow-up article entitled, Google Can Continue To Dominate Search With A Customer-Centric Strategy.

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