New data provided to TechRadar Pro by data intelligence platform SimilarWeb may shed light on how Bing is faring in its bid to take the search engine crown from Google.
In case you missed it, Microsoft recently announcement a “multi-billion dollar investment” in OpenAI’s ChatGPT, its GPT-4 artificially intelligent (AI) language model wrapped in a chatbot. Shortly after, Microsoft Web browser Bing search engine started following a waiting list (opens in a new tab) for “the new Bing”, a promising integration with technology.
Google, meanwhile, has let itself go a little fluttering in the wind to catch up with his own AI chatbot, Bard. In December 2022, Google entered “code red“ on the rise of AI, but said he probably wouldn’t implement AI in his search engine because he had a reputation to uphold.
Can ChatGPT “save” Bing?
According to data from SimilarWeb, in December 2022, before any major ChatGPT chatterBing (bing.com) managed about 843 million page views per month, compared to Google (google.com) 74 billion.
But on February 7, 2023, the day the OpenAI investment was announced, Bing received 30.3 million visits globally across desktop and mobile web. The following day, it recorded just under 32 million visits.
From this mass of data alone, you might think Microsoft’s investment is sparking new interest in Bing. After all, according to SimilarWeb report (opens in a new tab)this represents a 15% increase over the average number of daily visits over the previous six months.
But on closer inspection, it’s more accurate to say from the available data that Bing has made significant long-term gains for a while. As of August 13, 2021, Bing was handling 25.8 million daily visits, a metric that peaked at 27.5 million in the same month.
And even on February 6, 2023, the day before the announcement, Bing had 28.9 million visits. So while it saw a positive increase in daily visits after the announcement, that may not be enough to justify this “multi-billion dollar” investment, nor compelling enough to say Bing needs” to save” in the first place.
It’s possible that artificial intelligence will escalate the war for internet dominance between Bing and Google, but the first signs that Bing is about to overtake Google at some pace could just be that users are following a tendency.
As of this writing, Bing is still riding the wave of interest in its news cycle investing, such as the recent flurry of articles (from around February 14, 2023) on its lack of fairness or decorumand so the overall impact of the investment will remain uncertain until the dust has settled and ChatGPT becomes openly available on Bing.
While page-visit data for this tumultuous PR week for Bing is unavailable, it’s more than likely safe to assume that no ads are bad publicity, as people look to see how bad, wrong, or shocking Microsoft’s implementation of GPT-4 is. is in fact, leading to increased page visits and search volume.
Even before this week, other search engines, such as the privacy-centric DuckDuckGo, have seen a 700% increase in search volume for “bing AI”: a development that certainly won’t last.
So there’s growth at Bing, but it’s so incremental that it’s hard to pin down specific Microsoft moves, such as the OpenAI investment – and it’s probably too early to gauge the impact anyway.
However, Bing’s overall position in search engine rankings (behind DuckDuckGo, which is already behind Google by tens of billions of monthly visits as of January 2023) also suggests that it might just be selling its soul with no chance of prove to be a real competitor, especially now that Google is developing its own AI chatbot.
What does all this mean?
Before that February 16 reveal, I would have said that Google had a chance to retain its unassailable place as the THE search engine, simply by refusing to get involved in an arms race against AI and focusing on providing a solid search engine that just works.
Now, however, with Bing’s ChatGPT implementation causing ridicule in the press and online, and Google’s Bard completely unprepared for the task, Google could suffer if its eventual implementation of Bard in its search engine goes awry, abandoning its reputation for quality just to chase the air of the times.
In short, all the available SimilarWeb data shows is a skirmish in a much longer war that Bing is unlikely to win.
It may be investing in flashy technology that has little substance and almost certainly has a lifespan, but, in terms of growth, Bing has little to show beyond short-term surges spurred by catchy headlines. .
However, if a competing search engine steps in to fill the void of a search engine renowned for both its quality and do not threaten its users (opens in a new tab)Google’s staggering dominance of search engine market share might not last either.