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Bing.com; Is it Worth Switching from Google?




Whether it ends up being akin to Custer’s last stand or not, Microsoft has just announced Bing, as it desperately tries to find a way to take market share away from Google.

Whether you love the new name or not–personally, I think it’s a huge improvement on Windows Live Search–you owe it to yourself to go and try Microsoft’s revamped search offering when it launches on June 3. And by “try” I don’t mean enter one search query and make up your mind, I mean give it a solid week or two. You might just find that Bing pleasantly surprises.

At least, it surprised me. I’ve been playing with Bing for a couple of weeks now and I’ve been looking forward to today’s announcement. I’m not sure if Bing is good enough to break my Google habit, but there’s a lot under the hood to make me seriously consider switching from the all powerful, all knowing, Google.

It’s best to think of Bing not as a search engine, but a decision engine–which is exactly how Microsoft is pitching it. While it may seem like a term you create, so as not to appear you’re going head-to-head with Google, I think decision engine is a great way of describing Bing. Microsoft wanted to build a user interface that helped the estimated 42% of us that are constantly unsatisfied with our initial search results, and I think it has achieved that in Bing.

“Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the Web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO in a statement about the launch. “When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the Web. Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they’ve found to accomplish tasks and make smart decisions.”

Now, before I show you some of the cool new features, let’s acknowledge that Bing clearly draws from the advances made by search engines before it–Ask.com arguably made the first move in changing the “first ten links” approach to search results. That said, I think Bing brings its own personality to the table.

Head-to-Head

OK, so let’s look at a few of the new features. For fun, I’ll start off with a comparison with Google. ;-)

So, despite by Carolina Hurricanes losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I’m still interested in the Stanley Cup finals. So, let’s start there.

First Google:

Pretty good. We have news, relevant results, and some YouTube videos.

Now Bing:

Better than Google? Let’s see, I have recent scores, relevant results, and you’ll see to the left (and bottom) of the screen that Bing has some neat refining options.

OK, so perhaps you could argue that Bing is just using a different UI, not necessarily better. OK, let’s take a look and some other cool features in our search result, shall we?

While the snippets used by Google and Bing are helpful, what if I could get further information about a web page, without actually leaving my search results? Well, simply move your mouse over each search result and Bing will provide an expanded snippet–even drawing meta data, if available.

What if you’re more of an audio-visual kind of person? Click the “Videos” tab and you’ll not only get video results, but you can mouse over each thumbnail and it plays right there and then!

How about static images? OK, so when you click on “images” you expect to see images of, well, the Stanley Cup. But what if I want to see images of players celebrating with the greatest prize in hockey? Well, Bing will help me find similar images:

Et voila, I can browse similar images until my heart is content.

Not a hockey fan? Here are a few other neat things that come standard with Bing.

Shopping search is built in–complete with user reviews and scoring.

What about travel? Tell Bing your departure airport and destination, and it will help you find the best price and predict if that price is on the rise or fall.

Summary

There’s a lot to like about Bing and really only one thing not to like–it’s owned by Microsoft. Not that it means it should be dismissed, but I know a lot of us will likely not touch anything created by Microsoft. That would be a real shame, because Bing is the best advance in search technology in the past few years. Sure, it’s far from perfect, but it’s equally far from its Live Search predecessor.

I plan on giving Bing a fair shot at replacing Google as my default search engine. It’s got about a 20% chance of succeeding, but that’s a big improvement over Live Search’s “when hell freezes over” chance. ;-)

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  • http://www.ranksense.com/ Curtis Curtis

    Andy, do you know if they are doing anything on Bing at SMX Advanced? I am sure something – just wondered if you know when and what?

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Bing is due to go live to everyone on June 3, so I suspect that they'll flip the switch at SMX.

  • http://searchlightdigital.com/ Pete W

    Playing devil's advocate for a moment, why's it so bad that it's built by Microsoft? Sure, Vista wasn't great, but XP was, 7 is (and will only be better when it's released, I hope), Office is the best office suite arround (I'm sorry, but OpenOffice just doesn't even come close), Windows Media Center is equally cool…

    Seriously, stop hating on MS. It's uncool.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      I think Bing will go a long way to make people think twice. That said, many people will dismiss it because it's made by Microsoft. Sad, but true.

    • http://www.newhomessection.com/ Jayson

      Agreed Pete – hating on Microsoft got old awhile ago. I think other companies have failed several times and they get 1/8 of the crap that Microsoft gets. They've done more than their share in getting us where we are with technology.

  • saadkamal

    The screenshots look nice. I can't load the site at my location though. Can't wait to test it out.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      MSFT will roll out the launch over next few days, but most people will get is on June 3.

  • JRMcCollum

    From your first screenshots, it reminds me a lot of Ask 3D. Obviously they've developed it better than Ask 3D (which has been all but abandoned–very disappointing), but this is what I was expecting/hoping to see from that UI at some point.

    Nice job, Microsoft. Pity Friends isn't still on the air. Think Matthew Perry would reprise his role as Chandler to pimp the search engine? (If you weren't a fan–Chandler's last name was Bing.)

  • http://businessaccent.com viclogic

    That's a nice review and comparison with screenshots Andy.
    Thanks a lot for this clear information.
    I think I will also give a shot at Bing.
    With more search engines coming, competition will make the other search engines obligated to improved in their own.
    And the beneficiaries will be the users.

  • Dean

    Despite my “The search engine war is over” proclamations I must admit that I am intrigued by Bing. It actually does have some useful and unique functionality and I will definitely give it a shot. It will be interesting to see how Google responds.

    I also will be interested to see how this impacts the MSFT -Yahoo! dance. If Bing is successful, what use would MSFT have for Yahoo!?

  • http://www.emarketed.com/ Lynna

    Thanks for the news and explanation. I haven't heard of it, but I'm looking forward to Bing's launch.
    Keep up the great posts!

  • Jack

    I think marketers would love to see Bing succeed, which will give Google Adwords a run for its money, and hopefully help lower the overall PPC prices. It's just bad to have only one dominant player in the PPC field.

  • http://twitter.com/jacobstoops Jacob Stoops

    Bing looks like a very intriguing platform. Whereas Google tends to be a little minimalistic with its design sometimes, Bing looks like it is trying to pull together many different desserts onto one plate (so to speak).

  • http://www.shoutmeloud.com/ Harsh Agrawal

    One of the great feature of bing is auto compete feature, which is similar to Google, though being a blogger I would like to see some quality result from
    Bing rather then people who game SEO and come at the the top of Google Search result. Lets hope for something new and useful this time from Microsoft

  • http://sayreonline.com/ Brennan

    I think Google may finally have a competitor. i am glad they did the model of copy what is going good with Google and improve on what people said was bad. Will also be interesting to see how their ad models compare as far as payout per click. Google recently has been kind of slacking and overreaching so I may switch over and try it out just for that reason. We all know Microsoft will have plenty of bugs though if they follow their past projects. .

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jaan-Kanellis/510446149 Jaan Kanellis

    Go Red Wings!

  • Pingback: Google Wave sau Microsoft Bing? Cine atrage atentia mai tare? | Marius Sescu

  • http://www.newhomessection.com/ Jayson

    Nice write-up Andy and thanks for the images. I certainly plan on giving it a decent shot. They've always done a good job with the UI and image search.

  • http://www.victorianplumbing.co.uk/bathroombaths-c-275.html bathroom bath

    It does look like a competitor of Google. There will be something new as Bing is giving to everyone on 3rd june.

  • James

    Well done to Microsoft – Bing looks exciting and I must say I'm impressed with the lvisual appearance of it. Although I haven't tried it yet I really think they might be onto something big!

  • GiantHard

    Well, Nothing new!!!
    Just another experiemental search engine from microsoft.
    Don't worth wasting a second on it.
    Microsoft just can get their footing right on the Web not even if they Bing or Bong or Bip or Bop

  • http://www.vday300.com/ Wolf Nibori

    Great screenshot & comparison analysis! You've got a solid outlook on Bing's viability, I think. It does look like it could give the big G a run for it's money which is definitely a GOOD thing, just for search in general. I miss having a few competitive search engines to choose from if one doesn't give me what I wanted to see. I love the shopping/product features and I think that'll come in super handy.

    Thanks for going as in depth as you can given the fact that it's not launched yet :)

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  • Sean

    Andy,

    Thanks for your revew. I am a software developer of 15 years, and I've done some web application as well. I have never found a reason to use google. A lot of media have painted Google like some sort of tech giant. I don't understand which part of google can be called serious techhology. Search? that's simply how much data you have collection from the internet. by the way, do you really think google's result is better than Yahoo's, or anybody else? I don't. Companies like Yahoo, Google, Facebook… has little to do with techology, they are internet content providers.

    I an stuned by what the media is saying, and millions of people just believe what they say.

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  • Patrick

    I gave Bing a go and typed a search phrase that typically lists our company in the top three of a Google search. Bing does not even list us, at all… Hello?

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  • Barb Bolderson

    Hi I don’t care for your Bing . I don’t want it on my computer . Now how can I get rid of it and take it off my computer. Barb

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  • http://www.thegreenninja.org jen

    Nice article. I got here by searching google because I noticed that I was getting traffic to a couple of my websites from bing.com. Thanks for the info!

    jen’s last blog post..May Earnings, Clickbank Hops and More

  • Matt

    This is another review of Bing.. I found it an interesting read anyway

    “”http://www.slickit.ca/2009/06/bing-has-arrived.html””

    Mostly negative, but an interesting read.

  • http://free-xbox-360-premium.blogspot.com mark

    Nah, Google is still King!

    mark’s last blog post..Free XBox 360! Get A Free XBox 360 Elite/Premium Now!

  • http://www.blacksnake.com valod

    bing is a peace of shit its slow and laggy the only good thing is images. google works fast thats what people like fast results

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  • george williams

    i want bing off my computer how do i do it?please just answer question

  • Will Clark

    While it’s certainly got some unique layout changes that might sway others, it feels like a glorified google search rip off to me. Anything that Microsoft will do with searching, Google will take one look at it and do it better. They rewrote the book on internet searching.

    I must give Microsoft kudos for the attempt, and the fresh ideas they did provide. It’s through this competition searching will evolve and grow, and even if Google does overpower Bing, both sides will have changed for the better.

    That being said, I’m staying with Google.

  • Adam

    “Bing” sounds very bad in Chinese. The pronunciation of ILLNESS is bing …

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  • deb forsman

    I do not like that bing was just thrown on live.com sign in page.
    When trying to sign off of bing it will not allow it. I use a community computer
    and don’t appreciate the privacy and security issues this brings up not to mention
    the lack of comfort to even log on.

    Please remove bing and all others with out our approval.

  • Pingback: Bing.com Is Now Live | rapid-DEV.net

  • Daryl Formen

    It’s sad that so many will dismiss Bing because it is a Microsoft product before they even try it. Such narrow-minded thinking is so commonplace these days, in our highbrow society filled with arrogant people.
    Google CEO Eric Schmidt catered to the same small-mindedness when he talked about Bing and its implications for Google. Now I hear that Google is seriously going to take a look at it, apparently with Sergey Brin directly involved in the analysis of Bing.
    Will Bing take on Google seriously? Probably not, but it’s certainly worth a try. I’ve been using it in place of Google, and I like it enough to keep using it.

  • Robin Diamond

    Regarding your comment about possibly being pleasantly suprised, anything Microsoft does that I find pleasant is always a suprise. If Bing is like everything else. at some point you’ll have to pay to use it & then pay microsoft to correct everything it screwed up.

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  • PAT CHERRY

    I also want bing off my computer. i do not want changes that i did not ask for nor want.

  • Daniel

    I Dont care for Bing, Its just another way for Bill Gates to Monopolize. Im Sticking with Google.

  • http://520spot.com/ swapitout

    hey great write up. I quoted this in a blog I posted on 520spot. Don’t believe me here’s the link. http://520spot.com/main/?p=2835

    Be well

  • Joseph Hadley

    I switched to Bing from Google and haven’t looked back. It’s a nice change from the boring Google screen. The results are okay enough to keep with Bing rather than go back to Google. Of course, in a few years, I may become bored with Bing, too. Besides, Google needs some more competitition just like Microsoft needs more in the area of apps. More choices!

  • Joe

    I’m not trying to sell Bing to anybody, but I have to say that I have used Yahoo as my search engine for a long time and you can’t logon without finding a story about gay marriage, or Johnny Queer’s gay divorce, or something the elevates gay issues. Then I find that Yahoo is headquartered in San Francisco…hello! I switched to Bing because their splash page doesn’t have anything on it but a search feature and I’m tired of Yahoo shilling for sexually confused degenerates.