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Is Google a Habit or the Best Search Option?

google-logo1I just got back from the SES San Jose show. Good show. It was interesting to see the search world’s “Murderer’s Row” (relax …. it’s a reference to the 1927 New York Yankees batting lineup and not something offensive …. relax) consisting of Google, bing and Yahoo all lined up in the front row of the exhibit hall. Interesting, of course, because you have to wonder what the messages will sound like once the Microhoo co-joining finalizes sometime in the distant future. For now it’s a lot of talk of business as usual etc. etc.

So what is business as usual? SearchEngineLand takes a look at some new comScore data that tries to put some definition to that idea. The comScore report tells us that Google searchers are more loyal but that also begs the question: Is it loyalty or habit? For me personally, I just use Google out of habit but it’s not one that I feel is harmful to me so don’t plan any search interventions on my behalf. Maybe it’s best described as comfort but underneath all of it is the fact that the results are what matter and I have had no truly compelling reason to make a switch at this point. So am I a Google user by habit or choice? I suppose a little of both. One thing I am though is loyal and that is the area that the Microhoo search effort will need excel in if it is to make a dent in Google’s dominance.

The data below shows that the loyalty of Google searchers far outperforms that of the combined scores of Yahoo and Microsoft as they stand currently.

comScore 8.14.09 JPEG

When looking at search share Google is still comfortably out in the lead as comScore notes

In June 2009, Google Sites had a 65.0 percent share of searches in the U.S. core search market, compared to 28.0 percent for Yahoo Sites (19.6 percent) and Microsoft Sites (8.4 percent) combined. Despite lagging considerably in terms of overall search share, the combined searcher penetration of Yahoo! and Microsoft was 73.3 percent, not far behind Google at 84.0 percent. The source of the discrepancy between search share and searcher penetration is that searchers on Google conducted significantly more searches on average in a month (54.5) than did searchers on Yahoo and Microsoft (26.9).

So here we are in the land of numbers but simple observation says it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Google is still Google and the likelihood of unseating them is, well, pretty unlikely. No matter how people get to Google or why they stay with it, they have a search dominance factor of “a lot’ according to the completely unscientific and not even close to fully thought out Frank Reed Search Index Study of the Moment. I honestly don’t run into people that use Yahoo or bing as their primary search engine. On the rare occasion I do these people often have an anti-Google stance (like those who would use anything other than Microsoft even if it caused them personal harm) which may just be more about emotion than rational thought.

So is Google your habit or your choice? If you use another option tell us why. I need some feedback since my ultra scientific study of one has an overwhelming Google weighting.

  • http://www.free-speed-reading.com/ Robert

    I think it’s a combination of both. I know I can find what I want in Google if I keep refining my search terms. I guess it’s because I’m becoming a better searcher more than anything, but I haven’t used Bing, and I haven’t been to Yahoo in over 2 years. I think that smacks of habit and convenience more than anything.

  • http://www.howtogetafreegamesconsole.co.uk Free Wii

    I think even if there are better search engines out there I would still use google as it’s something i’m used to and is a bit of a habit. It also looks good, is easy on the eye and has such a good name which will be hard for anyone to compete with for the short term future. It would take alot to get me using another search engine. Bing has come along but I haven’t even considered using it.

  • http://www.EscortRadarDetectorReview.com Tom Harkenshire @ Best Radar Detector

    I believe that it’s more of a habit and that Google is way overhyped. It’s definitely a good search engine, but frankly, I don’t think it’s *that* much better than the competitors. Using a combination of smart PR, simple interface, and historically unpopular competitors (i.e. Microsoft), Google reached its current state. It may be slightly better than the alternatives, but just that.
    .-= Tom Harkenshire @ Best Radar Detector´s last blog ..Escort Laser Shifter ZR4 =-.

  • http://www.theistudio.com/muse/ Judith

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve found a more relevant quality site on page 2 or 3 of Google — that’s where some of the truly good sites can be found! Between 404s and 10 year old sites with stale information — I am not so much a big Google user any more.

    I think Google has branding and the average Joe user gravitates to Google because that’s just what you do. Everyone uses Google; Google is “it”, right? A tough mountain to climb for Bing although I do think they can tackle the behemoth by doing the same — searing branding — as Bing is already doing with their TV campaign that hits the nail on the head!

    As an example of the blind-branding syndrome (using a product without the ability to communicate specifics as to why you do), Yahoo! has the same situation with their eCom platforms. Folks “think” that by having their eStores on Yahoo! that’s the best (it’s Yahoo!) and that they will get better rankings in the Yahoo! directory (not true).

    The facts are their platform is ruefully behind, cumbersome, not user friendly, support leaves allot to be desired and they take a cut of every sale for the privilege of using their platform when there are alternatives out there that would meet their customers “wish list” better than Yahoo! does any day of the week!

    When you ask store owners why they are on Yahoo! — it’s all about the branding that Yahoo! has.
    Not because of functionality options, ease of use, cost effectiveness, their cutting edge technology. Just as with Google, there are better eCom solutions out there — but the name Yahoo draws non-techie eCommers in like bees to honey!
    .-= Judith´s last blog ..Premium WordPress Theme: Edmond =-.

  • http://www.boostelearning.com Jeff Alhadeff

    Google’s search features, the nine filters and five operators, allow a person to effectively find high value information in a way that Bing can not touch. Most people don’t take full advantage of Google’s depth, but once you know how, searching becomes a lot more beneficial and even, dare I say, fun.