Live Search increases US search share by 0.7%

Fresh out of Nielson Netratings is their Februay search share analysis – Live Search increasing from 8.9% in January to 9.6% in February. While it may be too early to start celebrating, it’s the 2nd consecutive month of growth in 2007 (0.5% increase between December and January), this is a marked change from the consistent drop in share experienced throughout 2006. Yahoo seems to be the main loser again, with Google continuing to grow.

Windows Vista and IE7 have no doubt helped boost search share, so the key indicator of success will be whether Live Search can retain the new users and continue to grow at the same rate throughout 2007. For this to happen Microsoft needs to continue improving the relevancy of search results and advertisements, while addressing the other issues that continue to trouble Live Search (see below).  Interestingly enough, Emre Sokullu & Richard MacManus analysed the Vista launch last month and concluded that it was Google that was suffering, not Yahoo.

Nielson Netrating stats: February Report | January Report | December Report

As we’re seeing almost a new Live Search discussion each day, here’s a roundup of some previously unposted Live Search stories (newest at the top): 

  • Scoble (as if he needs any more inbound links this week) compares the indexing speed of Live Search to Google search. Needless to say you don’t need to read his post to know the outcome, then again the comments are pretty interesting – Live Image Search seems to be gaining some votes which is nice to see.
  • One of the Security MVPs, Donna Buenaventura, describes how common Live Search terms produce results that link to malware sites. As it is impossible to directly compare Live Search with Google/Yahoo for all search queries I’m inclined to believe its yet another Windows Live doomsday story. Regardless more bad press is not what is needed. 
  • John Battelle discusses Microsoft moving into the corporate market through its Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search program. In essence the program persuades companies to use IE7 and Live Search in exchange for free Microsoft software. Even though the biggest disadvantage of Live Search is its anonymity, buying users is definitely a risky strategy. It’s an even riskier strategy when you don’t yet have a search engine that is equal to your competitors’.