The rise of AI search engines - can Microsoft break Google's dominance in search engine?

Can Microsoft break Google’s dominance in search engine? (Image by Pexels)

Google still dominates search engines despite Microsoft Bing’s AI revolution

  • Search engines are implementing AI to boost results. 
  • Google holds 91.7% of the global search engine market share. 
  • Bing comes in a distant second with only 3.1% market share. 

Google has been dominating search engines since it debuted over two decades ago. Over the years, other search engines have tried to compete with Google, each promising uniqueness and better privacy.

Yet, most of the search engines available today have hardly had any impact on Google’s dominance.

That was until generative AI was brought into search engines. While OpenAI’s ChatGPT started the ball rolling on generative AI, Microsoft had bigger plans on how it could use the technology to boost its own search engine, Bing.

Bing has been around for some time, too. In fact, Bing’s service traces its roots back to Microsoft’s earlier search engines, including MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and later Live Search.

Given the hype of ChatGPT, Microsoft decided to implement the technology in its search engine. And the world soon witnessed Microsoft’s new version of Bing, which has now transformed into the first of the AI search engines.

Realizing the potential of generative AI in the search engine, Google also started working on implementing the technology. Within weeks of Bing’s new release, Google unveiled Bard, its own version of an AI search engine.

AI search engines are the first thing to even vaguely challenge Google in decades.

Most of the search engines available today hardly had any impact on Google’s dominance.

What are AI search engines?

AI search engines utilizes artificial intelligence techniques to provide users with more relevant and personalized search results. Currently, search engines like Google and Bing use algorithms to match keywords in the search query with web pages containing those keywords.

With AI, search engines employ machine learning, natural language processing, and other AI technologies to understand the search query’s context and deliver more accurate results. These systems can analyze user behavior, preferences, and historical data to tailor the search results to individual users. This personalization enhances the user experience by providing results more relevant to the user’s interests and needs.

What’s more, AI search engines can also understand the intent behind the search queries, allowing them to provide more precise answers to specific questions instead of just displaying a list of relevant web pages. These search engines can be used in various applications, such as e-commerce platforms, customer support systems, and information retrieval systems, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of search processes.

Here’s a list of AI search engines:

  • Microsoft Bing – Unveiled in February this year, the new version of the search engine now has an AI chatbot powered by Open AI’s GPT-4.
  • Google Bard – Bard is a conversational generative artificial intelligence chatbot developed by Google, based initially on the LaMDA family of large language models (LLM) and later the PaLM LLM. The AI chatbot has functions similar to GPT-4 in the search engine.
  • Baidu – China’s competitor to Bard and Bing, Baidu’s Ernie Bot is an AI chatbot that users can ask questions or prompt to help write market analysis, give marketing slogan ideas, and summarize documents in Chinese and English.
  • ChatGPT – ChatGPT itself works as an AI search engine. However, there are limitations to its capabilities.
  • DuckDuck Go – Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo unveiled DuckAssist, the first in a series of AI-assisted private search and browser updatesDuckAssist draws on natural language technology Anthropic to power the natural language summarization capability, combined with its active indexing of Wikipedia and other reference sites it’s using to source answers.
  • com – A search engine that summarizes the best parts of the internet, with private ads and privacy options. Its AI will help users find the most relevant results from the web and apps that they can sort and prioritize for optimum search experience.
  • Neeva AI – An ad-free and privacy-focused search engine, Neeva AI, is billed as an authentic, real-time AI. It uses LLM and search stacks to analyze prompts and display data.
  • Perplexity AI – an AI-powered search engine and chatbot that utilizes advanced technologies such as NLP and machine learning to provide accurate and comprehensive answers to user queries. It is designed to search the web in real-time and offer up-to-date information on various topics.
  • Phind – an intelligent assistant for programmers, users get the answer they want in seconds instead of hours.
  • Opera – Opera may not be a leading browser, but it is still popular among some users. Its Aria AI is fully integrated into the Opera browser on desktop and Android. With live access to the web, Aria expands user capabilities with AI.
Google remains the most used search engine. (Image - generated by AI)

Google remains the most used search engine. (Image – generated by AI)

Google remains the search engine leader

According to statistics from Techopedia, as of August 2023, Google holds 91.7% of the global search engine market, indicating the brand’s consistent leadership in online search, standing far ahead of its competitors.

While Bing comes second, it only had 3.1% of the market share. This was followed by several other search engines like Yandex at 1.5%, Yahoo! at 1.2% and DuckDuckGo at 0.5%. Even China’s Baidu only had a 1.1% market share despite the search engine’s dominance in China.

Regarding mobile search engines, Google commanded 95.2% of the market, emphasizing its stronghold in the mobile search realm. Following Google, both Yandex and Baidu held 1.3% of the market. Yahoo! accounted for 0.6%, while Bing and DuckDuckGo each captured 0.5%.

It may be a long time before any search engine genuinely dents Google’s dominance, even in the age of AI search engines. While Microsoft is trying hard to get more users by adding more features to Bing, it’s still not capable of making any significant impact on Google’s lead.

And Google is also aware of the challenges it faces from AI search engines. Not only are there increasing security and privacy concerns, but there are also regulatory requirements the search engine giant needs to adhere to. Google has already received fines amounting to millions of US dollars from regulators worldwide.

While Google continues to appeal these fines, the company could face more penalties if it is not careful about using its data and search engine. AI might be enhancing search engines, but ensuring privacy and security also needs to be paramount for these companies.