Microsoft Bing
Microsoft Bing recently surpassed over 140 million daily active users. Screenshot / Bing YouTube

Microsoft's search engine Bing has seen a surge of over 40 million daily active users in the past year, thanks partly to the integration of AI and features like Copilot.

While not the most popular search engine, Microsoft's Bing has undergone tremendous growth and evolution in recent years. The company's strong push towards integrating AI into the platform is a significant factor in this change.

In 2023, Microsoft celebrated a significant milestone: Bing surpassed 100 million daily active users. The company credits the launch and integration of Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat) as contributing to this success.

Microsoft's impressive FY24 Q3 earnings boasted growth in revenue, operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share. The company's chief executive, Satya Nadella, attributed a significant role in this success to the company's advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Cashing in on the skyrocketing popularity of AI, Bing itself has seen significant growth. During Microsoft's recent earnings call, Nadella announced that Bing has surpassed 140 million daily active users. This marks a gain of over 40 million users in just over a year since reaching 100 million in March 2023.

In a recent streamlining effort, Microsoft has rebranded several products. Bing Chat is now known as Copilot, and Bing Image Creator has been simplified to Image Creator (formerly Designer).

Microsoft Aims for the Search Crown: Can Bing Challenge Google?

While Google continues to be at the forefront of the search engine space, Microsoft's AI advancements in Bing present a compelling opportunity to close the gap and create a more competitive search environment for users.

However, Microsoft isn't the only contender vying for Google's search crown. In February, reports emerged that OpenAI, the creators of the popular ChatGPT AI, is developing a web search product to challenge Google's dominance.

During Google's antitrust trial last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella argued that Google's practices disadvantaged Bing. He highlighted Apple's default use of Google Search on its devices as a major hurdle, even suggesting that a similar deal with Apple worth £12 billion ($15 billion) annually could be a game-changer for Bing.

Adding to the pressure on Google, the European Union designated them as a "gatekeeper" under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in March 2024. This requires Google to comply with new regulations within six months. The most notable changes include allowing users on Android phones to choose their default search engine and browser freely.

While the EU exempted Microsoft's Edge and Bing from DMA regulations due to their market share, this opens a strategic window for Bing to capitalise on Google's limitations. By addressing critical user concerns, Bing has the potential to not only compete effectively with Google but also emerge as a leader in specific search categories.

While Bing hasn't yet reached the level where "SEO" and its name are mentioned in the same breath as Google, the search engine is making significant strides. Google's algorithmic updates can significantly impact industries, and Bing's continued growth and innovation can potentially develop a similar influence in the future.

The landscape could shift dramatically if Google directly integrates large language models like Gemini into search results. Many users have already expressed frustration with the growing amount of sponsored content that appears before organic results.

Integrating AI-generated responses before these core results could further disrupt the user experience. On the other hand, Bing has yet to prioritise Copilot responses over traditional search results, offering users a potentially less cluttered search experience for now.