Does the web browser you use say anything about your preferred search engine? It might, according to some data just published by Chitika.
After measuring activity across the 80,000 or so sites in its ad network, Chitika reports that Bing usage is tied to which version of Internet Explorer a person uses. Specifically, Bing usage increases as users upgrade to newer versions of Internet Explorer.
As you can see, Bing usage jumps from 16.9% among IE8 users to 22.9% among IE9 users — that’s a 35% gain.
Is this just a case of IE9 making Bing the user’s default search engine? No, not really. A Microsoft spokesperson says users who upgrade from one version of IE to IE9 will maintain the same preferred search provider they chose previously:
If a user has selected another search provider as the default (via the IE Gallery) in a previous version, that preference will be preserved when upgrading to IE9. Bing is the default on new IE9 installs.
So, it sounds like the explanation for Bing’s popularity among IE9 users is either A) A lot of people are switching from another browser to IE9 and using Bing by default, or B) a lot of IE9 users are upgrading and switching to Bing at the same time.
Google, of course, remains the number one search engine among all IE users. But it’s interesting to note that Google does see a drop-off in usage between IE8 and IE9, corresponding to some degree with Bing’s increase in usage between IE8 and IE9.
And then there’s Yahoo. According to activity across Chitika’s network, Yahoo users are generally web browser luddites. Ouch.
Postscript: I should also mention the possible impact on browser/search engine use from deals and partnerships that have been struck over the years between the major search engines and various computer makers. Here are a few of our past stories covering that topic:
- Deal Puts Microsoft Live Search On Dell Computers, Verizon Phones — Will It Help?
- CES: Microsoft Expands Scope Of HP Search Relationship To 42 Countries
- Bartz: Yahoo’s Search Decline Due To Dead Toolbar Deals