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Share and the search market

Help me out. Is a 60% share of the search market really an indicator of search excellence? You’ve already heard that Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo. You’ve already heard that combined, Yahoo and Microsoft have a search market share that’s less than half of Google’s own share. First, I wondered how market share in searching is calculated. Computer World makes it sound like queries are the market, so more queries = more share. Ok, fair enough.

Then I wondered, are more queries really better? Imagine if you will that you want to find something on the internet, but you’re not sure what that thing is. You go to Google, you start searching. You get some results, but they’re not quite what you wanted. So you search again. You still don’t get quite what you want, so you try again. The cycle continues. You’re racking up search queries, but you’re not racking up finds. This happens to me a lot.

It seems that the point of internet search is internet find. If a search engine can’t get you to find, then it’s not that great, and an insanely high number of queries may indicate lots of users finding or lots of users not finding. Does anyone know which it is?


  • Eric Cook |

    I think you’re looking at it from a user-side perspective, whereas the percentages being thrown around are more descriptive and meaningful in a market perspective. So from that angle, the point of search is not find, but targeted ad revenue derived from search. So if the %s being thrown around are really indicative of number of searches, I’m guessing the business press only cares about that as a proxy for potential ad views & sales.

  • libbyh |

    So the “best” search engine here is one that gets eyeballs on ads most often? I’m starting to miss Arrested Development again just thinking about tying “ad revenue” to “best” so tightly. It makes me sad, and I still can’t find what I’m looking for. Pout. Damn you, competing goals!

So, what do you think ?

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