Google's new CEO Larry Page reported on the company's massive increase in expenses during the earnings call yesterday, causing one set of analysts to cheer for the sales growth while a second worried that this could be the beginning of a less financially-disciplined era for the Internet giant. The latter half expressed further concern at the rise of Microsoft's Bing search engine, whose market share numbers indicate possible usurpation of the search throne.

Google CEO Larry Page briefly touched on the company’s quarterly earnings this week, noting there were still “tremendous improvements to be had” for their core products. 

Analysts made a point to highlight the Internet giant's operating expenses, which were up a whopping 54 percent year-over-year. In response to whether this significant change in spending was permanent, Google's execs said the company would not be slowing down its marketing spending, especially on Chrome.

Add that to the change in hiring costs (in response to Facebook's aggressive hiring and pre-IPO stock options, Google gave a 10% cash bonus to all employees last quarter) and it's obvious that the company is making a gigantic effort to stay relevant and keep its own team interested.

Big Bad Bing

Speaking of the competition, the net's been buzzing today with Bing's growing market share, and for good reason.

2011-04_Search-market.jpg

Source: Hitwise

  • Hitwise shows that Bing gained 6% in March, for a current share of 14.32%. Bing now stands at 30.1%. (Google meanwhile lost 3% for a share of 64.42%.)
  • comScore's data for the same time period shows that Bing's gain from the previous month is only at .3%, for a current share of 13.9% (for a total share of 29.6%). This data also shows Google with a .3% increase for a current share of 65.7%.

Could Bing really take over as the top search engine? If the numbers keep moving like they have been, some say it'll happen by 2012. Christina Warren of Mashable graphed out this trajectory here

Others say it's too early for speculation. Jeremy Scott at ReelSEO admitted that Bing's upswing is certainly noteworthy, but called Warren's projections "ridiculous." "Yes, Bing powers more searches now than they did a year ago, but only because they bought their way in. Let’s not act like this 30% number is representing true growth of 14%, because it’s not. Google could buy Yahoo and steal that market share right back."

In any case, Bing's momentum makes it a serious contender. What do you think of the boom? Are you still using Google for everything? Might Microsoft win the relevancy war? Share your thoughts in the comments.