online conversion funnel: awareness stage

How Windows 10 Is Going To Change Search

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Windows 10: Coming Soon

Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 10, is available for widespread use to current Windows 7 and Windows 8 users on July 28th. Historically this wouldn’t have been worth noting for Search Marketers, but I’m going to tell you why you should care this time. A new Windows typically rolls out slowly, as new PC’s are bought and a select few upgrade their current PC. Why is it different this time?

Free For Windows 7 & 8 Users?

John Gagnon, Bing Evangelist, when speaking at MNSearch Summit in St. Paul, MN identified the goal for Windows 10 PC’s at 1 Billion Users. That’s a substantial number of PC’s. However, when discussed in the context of a free upgrade, suddenly it becomes realistic. Computer World gives a summary of the figures for PC distribution by OS Version as follows.

Windows 7: 961 Million
Windows 8: 257 Million

Microsoft needs roughly 82% of those PC’s to take part in the free upgrade if they want to get 1 Billion PC’s on Windows 10, that’s without any new units selling. Regardless of whether or not that happens, the possibility is worth evaluating seriously.

So What?

Take a peek at your Google Analytics, specifically at the traffic by OS. Any users coming from Windows (Except the 30 people still using XP and Vista) are about to start using Bing as their primary search engine. Windows 10 has taken the menu area in an OS to it’s next logical progression, adding a search engine function. John Gagnon’s insight dives into the reasoning, “Search is changing. When looking to the future, there is huge opportunity to bring the search engine to where people are. If Bing powers AOL, Yahoo, web search on Siri and Cortana – there are more ways to get you to search. That’s what we’re excited about. And why we’re so excited about Cortana being on the desktop of Windows 10.”

To gauge the impact this might have on one of our clients I checked traffic by OS for them, roughly 65% came from Windows 7 & 8. Taking the speculation one step further, if the adoption rate for Windows 10 is above 82% no significant changes would occur unless people are taken with the embedded Search field. If that happens, how can we not expect a dramatic shift in the volume of searches being performed in Bing?

The Windows 10 search field can be activated by voice (Cortana) or through a typed search, the demo we saw showed a pop-up including possible results, then we were brought to the bing results. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see this as a very convenient way to search; it requires less steps than opening a browser, and it’s kind of refreshing to see something new in an OS. When asked about the future of voice search, John sees this becoming a larger part of search everyday, “Traditionally, when you searched you went to google.com (or maybe even bing.com). But there are new habits forming around search – think Siri, Cortana or Google Now. You ask an assistant a question, it answers, or it sends you off to a search. That’ll become more and more commonplace.”

What Now?

It’s not everyday a technology company creates and launches a brand new OS simply to capture search market (that may not have been their intention, but from my perspective it seems ingenious). The new browser, Edge, will also be interesting to see and should be considered as having some impact on this as well. However, for me to be completely sold on Bing giving Google a run for their money I need to see it in action; also, wouldn’t mind seeing an updated bing results page. But from where I stand, Microsoft just launched an assault on Mountain View California, don’t let yourself be caught recovering from a sudden drop in Google traffic in August. Winter is coming. So is Windows 10.

Questions about search, or this blog? Brett Middleton can be contacted anytime If you’re interested in seeing how your Search strategies could improve from diversifying into multiple search engines, please give him a call today at 763.548.2297 or email brett@www.snapagency.com


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