Microsoft and Yahoo announced Tuesday that Bing is totally fueling Yahoo search results in the U.S. and Canada. The search integration comes more than a year after both companies announced that they were joining forces to better take on Google, the goliath of the search industry.
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It will be a while before there are any numbers to show how the pair is fairing against Google, said Hadley Reynolds, an analyst at market research firm IDC. However he said the launch was a positive start.
"It's important for Microsoft and Yahoo that the shift from Yahoo search to Bing for organic results took place smoothly this week -- apparently without any technical breakdowns," Reynolds said. "These transitions are dicey in any software environment, and the fact that Yahoo and Bing pulled off the project successfully should build confidence among search marketers and advertisers."
With the 10-year deal, Yahoo gave up its own longstanding search technology in lieu of using Microsoft's fairly new Bing search engine to power all searches on the various Yahoo sites.
Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission approved the search agreement earlier this year.
This week's announcement marks a first step in putting the agreement into action. Satya Nadella, a senior vice president at Microsoft, noted in a blog post that at this point, Bing is only powering results in English in the U.S. and Canada. The setup is expected to expand into other languages and regions in coming months.
Yahoo users should expect to see few, if any, differences in their searches. What could change is the level of competition that Google faces.
"With Yahoo's moving their volume of search users to Bing, it makes it a much more level playing field for Bing vs. Google," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. "While the combined Microsoft and Yahoo search traffic is still significantly lower than what Google drives, it's much larger than the two had on their own. This gives Bing better numbers to show advertisers and a chance to cut into Google's lead."