Bing – But It’s Not Google

In Information industry, Web 2.0 & all that on May 29, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , ,

Attempts to topple Google continue. Microsoft are coming in with Bing (the name has already been criticised). Why do they bother, we ask? I really want to use other search engines, as I never like monopolies, but whenever I try Live Search or Exalead or Yahoo or Ask it always ends up, if not in tears, then a sad retreat to Google. It’s not that I don’t like Google, it’s just I wish somebody would give us a half decent alternative. Evidently, search is hard to do well.

Anyway, I have two thoughts. Firstly is that no-one is naive enough to think that Bing can topple Google, at least not in the short or medium term. But at the moment MS only get about 8% of the search market, and even if they can increase that up to, say, 16%, that’ll still double their income from selling search associated advertising, and that’s a pretty damned big market; the $100 million they’ve allegedy put aside for marketing Bing might not look like such a large amount once the new income starts rolling in.

Secondly, it appears they’re not fighting Google on the “who’s got the best algorithm” front. Google have, and they’ve got the know-how and momentum to keep it there. Rather they’re using semantic search through their aquisition of Powersoft a while ago and will target users after specific, query based information in the world of shopping, travel, health and locating local businesses. This could work, as Bing only has to be better than Google in one area to begin with. If, say, you decide that Bing is more helpful when trying online shopping than Google Product Search, then you’ll come back to Bing time and time again and slowly, maybe, after time you’ll start to use Bing for other queries, even if it’s only nearly as good as Google. New search engines going head to head against Google tend to lose, badly. I guess that’s why Microsoft are encouraging people to use Bing for specific types of query first, rather than just as a replacement of Google as your general search engine.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. I hope they do OK. I don’t really care who it is, but I’d like to see a choice to Google. Actually talking of search engines, has anyone tried Wolfram|Alpha? Nothing if not ambitious…  Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.


6 Responses to “Bing – But It’s Not Google”

  1. Bing has become the new default search for my retro version of IE at work (6). It looks (visually) awful. Search results were fine.

  2. I’m using it at the moment for my default search (using the Firefox search bar), hence bypassing the not 100% successful home page; apparently they will have a different picture each day. Results have been OK so far, and I like the scroll-over preview which works well and is suitably quick. The preview videos are quite cute too.

  3. I’m starting to come around to Bing’s ‘look’. The way the page loads and the changing image each day.

  4. I haven’t used Bing yet but may check it out. I really don’t feel any urgency with this. Part of me is thinking, if Google is better, why bother? But I know I’ll cave eventually.

    The NHS Blog Doctor likes Bing and plans to Bing for a week.

    Is Bing going to try to integrate in the Firefox browser? Because it is that convenience of the Google (and option to choose other search engines, which I never do) bar up there that keeps me using Google.

    An interesting review here that compares Wolfram Alpha with another computational search called Cyc that has been around for a while. It claims it will take a long for WA to get up to speed.

  5. Yes, you can download a Firefox add-on to add Bing to the Firefox search bar. Click Manage Search Engines and carry on from there… you know what, it might well not be better, in fact probably isn’t, but a change is as good as a rest, plus I’m starting to look forward to what tomorrow’s picture will be.

  6. It’s not just the name that is being criticised and Phil’s next post reckons it censors UK results ooh er?!

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