The Noisy Channel


Waiting for the Big Bing

May 28th, 2009 · 7 Comments · General

Everyone is talking about Bing today–well, everyone who isn’t too busy watching Google do the Wave. If you haven’t been paying attention, Microsoft is about to spend $100M to market an upgrade of its web search engine, rebranding it from Live to Bing (by way of Kumo).

I’m reserving judgment about it until I have a chance to play with it myself–and I assume I’ll have to wait until next week just like everyone else (unless any kind insider cares to offer me a sneak preview). But it is interesting to see how Microsoft is positioning Bing as a “decision engine” rather than a search engine, with messaging at least mildly suggestive of HCIR. At least according to their marketing, their focus is on organizing results, simplifying tasks, and supporting decision making.

I personally can’t help noticing how the messaging looks familiar–and they even name-check a very familiar customer in their marketing video. But it’s probably just a coincidence. 🙂

In any case, Google also claims to organize the world’s information–and it’s even starting to offer users limited query refinement capabilities. If Microsoft is going to make headway on this round, I suspect they’ll have to deliver a significantly better experience than Google at the task level for at least a couple of common tasks. The areas they tout in their marketing are travel, health, and shopping. It certainly wouldn’t be hard for Microsoft to beat Google on all three–note the overlap with areas where Google isn’t good enough. But it remains to be seen if they will.

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Christina Pikas // May 29, 2009 at 6:26 am

    I keep tellin’ people, Live’s search for health related topics is pretty amazing. Definitely better than Google’s. I don’t know if I’ve managed to convince anyone – it’s all Google all the time so Bing has to be more than a little better, they have to be amazing. Unfortunately.

  • 2 Discussing business search with Robin Johnson, CEO of FT Search | Paul Miller - The Cloud of Data // May 29, 2009 at 6:46 am

    […] Waiting for the Big Bing ( […]

  • 3 jeremy // May 29, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Don’t you mean the “Bing Bang”? 🙂

  • 4 Daniel Tunkelang // May 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Still debating whether Bing stands for “Bing is not Google” or “But it’s not Google”–seems to depend on how much Goog-aid you’ve drunk. Hopefully it won’t just be a slag heap.

  • 5 Bing is no good // May 31, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Bing is a search engine that will no longer send visitors to other sites for product related searches. Instead Bing will throw content at anyone looking for a product. This is extremely bad news for anyone who owns an online store or is an affiliate marketer. Bing is an affiliate site.

  • 6 Daniel Tunkelang // May 31, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Bing is a search engine that will no longer send visitors to other sites for product related searches.

    Really? I guess we’ll find out in a couple of days. But if the content they “throw” isn’t comprehensive enough for people to find what they are trying to buy, then no one will use it for shopping-related searches.

    Are you just saying they’ll bypass affiliate sites by acting as a shopping portal for the web, like a Google Products or That doesn’t strike me as a bad thing for users, assuming they deliver breadth and a solid user experience.

  • 7 [SHOCKER] Did you really expect any love for Bing? // Jun 27, 2011 at 5:50 am

    […] I’m not overwhelmed. In fact, I’m quite disappointed, given their big talk about deliver a “decision engine“, I expected at least a little bit of innovation in the user experience. No such luck, The focus […]

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