Google’s market share for search in the UK has dipped under 90 per cent for the first time in five years. During October Google captured 89.33 per cent of searcher’s eyeballs, which still make it the UK’s dominant search player by a long shot. These latest figures came from Experian Hitwise a web traffic analysis firm.
In October Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo! and Ask search all enjoyed slight gains in their usage by the public. Most notable was Bing’s increased popularity rising from 3.98 per cent in September to 4.71 per cent in October.
Chart from Experian Hitwise
Windows 8 was only just released at the end of October and it is expected that it will bring a further uplift in figures for Bing in the coming months. Bing is the default search engine in Windows 8 and user inertia may get people to stick with it, if its search results are perceived as on a par with Google’s.
Speaking to the BBC an analyst from Forrester Research said “In the UK, Bing has been using very aggressive tactics of promotion for last few months, in preparation for the Christmas season. But Google is still dominant, and we would need to see a trend over more months to call it a consistent decline.” Also currently the rate of decline seems very slight; the Experian blog notes that “Clearly, Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines in the UK market. There are 18 times more searches conducted on Google Sites than on all the other search engines combined.” So the dominant search giant still has plenty of time to do something to put the brakes on this slippage.
Google Search redesign
In closely related news Google has just implemented some tweaks to its search pages. The official Google Search Blog Inside Search says that “You’ll notice a new simpler, cleaner design on the search results page”. US users are getting the new design first which offers users “a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for” or to you and me; it just looks a bit different.