Microsoft's Bing search engine, and even Yahoo, are providing users with more-accurate searches than their rival Google, according to a report out this week.
Bing and Yahoo, which is now using Microsoft's Bing search technology, had the highest search success rates last month, reported Experian Hitwise, an Internet monitoring firm. More than 81% of the searches on Bing and Yahoo sites led users to visit a Web site.
Google wasn't as successful with its January searches. According to Experian Hitwise, the dominant player in the search market had a 65% success rate.
Google did not respond to a request for a reaction to the study.
"In my business and personal searching, I feel like I'm seeing less on-point results and more garbage, even on pretty specific queries," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. "Search success is a big deal for both advertisers and users. This same study also pointed out a significant increase in multiword, more-complex searches. To me, this means that users are looking for more specific results."
Olds said the search engine that delivers the most accurate results will win over users in the long run. That could be good news for Microsoft , which has been trying in vain to gain ground on Google in the search market ever since Bing was released.
Even if its search results haven't been as accurate, Google is still the dominant search engine. Experian Hitwise reported that Google accounted for 67.95% of all U.S. searches in January. Bing-powered searches, which include queries on both Bing and Yahoo, accounted for 27.44% of the total. Yahoo's individual share was 14.62%, while Bing's was 12.81%.
"If the inaccurate searches are a trend and not an isolated result, then this does point to the need for Google to improve on its search success," Olds said. "In the short term, it gives Microsoft a great angle they can use to tout Bing vs. Google to advertisers."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.