Home Google Still Rules Search, But Siri Is Coming

Google Still Rules Search, But Siri Is Coming

New data from Experian Hitwise show that Google continued to widen its lead in the U.S. search market last month. Google accounted for 66% of searches in September, gaining by 2%, while Bing and Yahoo lost ground by 3% and 2% respectively. The remaining 66 search engines analyzed by Hitwise powered 5.8% of U.S. searches.

But for how long will this kind of search query dominate the way we find things on the Web? With today’s release of iOS 5, Apple – Google’s mobile rival – sets the stage for Siri, an artificially intelligent voice search assistant that goes out of its way not to use Google to find results. Google is winning the search game, but Apple is about to change it.

Search Needs Social

It isn’t news that Google’s dominance in Web search is well established in the U.S. It accounts for nearly two thirds of search queries, while Bing-powered searches from anywhere, not just from Bing.com, provide a little over a quarter.

But the parameters of search are changing. Social signals are becoming increasingly important for determining relevance, and Bing got the jump on Google there by striking a deal for Facebook integration.

Google’s real-time search agreement with Twitter expired this year, but the search giant has since struck back by incorporating Google Plus into its search results. But Google Plus is having trouble gaining traction. It certainly doesn’t have as much social data as Facebook’s hundreds of millions of users provide to Bing.

Your Wish Is Siri’s Command

Meanwhile, Apple is about to head Google and Microsoft off at the pass. With today’s launch of iOS 5 and the impending deliveries of the record-breaking iPhone 4S, Apple will debut Siri, an artificial intelligence that understands human language much better than the Google search box does. And while Siri will search Google as a last resort if it can’t find your answer, it (she?) will go out of its (her?) way to use Google competitors.

For local stores and restaurants, Siri uses Yelp. For math problems, Siri uses Wolfram Alpha. Each query from Siri for one of those things is a query Google didn’t get. With iOS 5, Apple has also married its handheld devices with Twitter, providing a vector for real-time social search with no Google in sight. Apple can just keep adding more non-Google services, and iPhone users will keep using Google less and less.

What do you think? Can Siri do better than Google Web search?

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