GRAPHIC-OpenAI tech gives Microsoft's Bing a boost in search battle with Google
By Akash Sriram and Chavi Mehta
March 22 (Reuters) - The integration of OpenAI's technology into Microsoft-owned Bing has driven people to the little-used search engine and helped it compete better with market leader Google in page visits growth, according to data from analytics firm Similarweb.
Page visits on Bing have risen 15.8% since Microsoft Corp unveiled its artificial intelligence-powered version on Feb. 7, compared with a near 1% decline for the Alphabet Inc-owned search engine, data till March 20 showed.
The figures are an early sign of the lead the Windows maker has taken in its fast-moving race with Google for generative AI dominance, thanks to the technology behind ChatGPT, the viral chatbot that many experts have called AI's "iPhone moment".
They also underscore a rare opportunity for Microsoft to make inroads in the over $120 billion search market, where Google has been the dominant player for decades with a share of more than 80%.
Gil Luria, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co, said that he expects Bing to gain market share in search over the next coming months, especially if Google continues to delay the integration of generative AI into its product.
While Bing AI has been available to most users around the world since February, Google began the public release of its chatbot Bard only on Tuesday.
"Bing has less than a tenth of Google's market share, so even if it converts 1% or 2% of users it will be materially beneficial to Bing and Microsoft," Luria said.
App downloads for Bing have also jumped eight times globally after AI integration, according to app research firm Data.ai. Downloads for the Google search app fell 2% in the same period, the data showed.
Still, some analysts said that Google, which in the early 2000s unseated then leader Yahoo to become the dominant search player, could overcome the early setbacks to maintain its lead.
"Google's ranking algorithm can have a competitive edge over that of competitors", Yongjei Jeong, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in South Korea said, referring to how Google's algorithm helped it beat Yahoo Search.
(Reporting by Akash Sriram and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Shounak Dasgupta)