Tech & Gadgets

Google It? Bing It? Millennials Are Shaking Up Search

For most adults who grew up when the Internet was in its infancy, Google is a verb as well as a brand. If you want to find something online, you Google it. For younger Millennials, however, that may not be the case. Microsoft’s Bing is putting its stamp on search. Both Google and Bing have been tweaking their search products to offer younger users more personalized results, for example tying in to their social media information to share results that their friends find relevant.

But Google seems to be getting a little nervous. For the first time — as far as we’re aware — Google is advertising its search services highlighting how it’s different from other search engines with the campaign tagline “Good To Know.” The ads explain how Google attempts to understand what you’d like, recognizing that the Beetle car is probably a more relevant search than the beetle insect for most users. The ads remind us just a bit of the “The More You Know” public service campaigns from our childhood, but not in a fun, campy kind of way. Google is earnestly attempting to convince the public it’s the better search engine.

So far, we’ve only spotted the ads in a few subway trains in New York. While this might seem like minor news, it could very well be the start of a new trend in which Google has to fight for users.

Google’s market share has remained relatively steady of late; it accounted for 67% of U.S. searches in December 2010, and 66% of search in December 2011, according to comScore. But meanwhile, Microsoft share, mostly stolen from Yahoo!, has grown from 12% to 15% in the same period. Yes, this may seem like an uphill battle, but as Bing’s fan base grows and users recommend their choice of search engine to friends, Google could come under attack, and it’s trying to preempt any significant shift in user sentiment.

Microsoft is gradually making inroads with the Millennial audience. Ryan Seacrest serves as its spokesperson, advertising the brand while interviewing celebrities for his radio show from the “Bing Box.” The search engine is fully integrated into Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox Live, set as the devices’ default search tool. And then there’s the fact that Millennials don’t see a reason to do things the way they’ve always been done, so they’re trying out Bing and in some cases switching from Google to make it their default search engine.

Brands and businesses who want to reach Millennials now need to worry not only about where they show up in Google search results, but also where they show up in Bing search results.

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