Digital Assistant Wars

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cortana 2The Digital Assistant Wars are heating up. Digital assistants are voice activated tools, like Siri on the iPhone, that help users find information on search engines and reference sites (such as weather, sports or finance sites).  This is a highly competitive area because the search engines want a large share of the voice search market, so they can sell a lot of PPC advertising to those users.

Microsoft was a little late to the digital assistant game, introducing its version, call Cortana, in 2014.  Microsoft has never been one to be happy with second place and recently flexed its muscles to block Google search from Cortana. In late April, Microsoft updated its Windows 10 operating system so that it defaults to its own browser, and thus its search engine Bing. Users can manually select the Google browser Chrome, when using Cortana, but it is very difficult.

According to a blog post by Microsoft on April 28, Microsoft says that switching away from Cortana’s default browser and search engine makes for “a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.”  According to the company, the basic idea is that Cortana is supposed to help with “task completion.” For example, if you search for Pizza Hut in the Cortana search bar, it will open the website. With the Pizza Hut site open, Cortana will automatically prompt you with the closest locations.  Supposedly, if you switch the Cortana default browser to Chrome, which uses the Google search engine, this “task completion” capability could be corrupted.

Of course, Google continues as the 800-pound gorilla in the search world, with more than 60% of the US market, while Bing is second with about 21% (According to comScore Feb 2016).  But, as more consumers adopt Windows 10 and use Cortana, we may see a shift in the search market share.

Ceatus optimizes its clients’ websites to enhance visibility on all search engines, including Google and Bing. We constantly monitor changes in the search world environment to maintain leading edge strategies for our clients and to keep them  posted on the changing online marketing environment.

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