Posted June 10, 2009 5:42 pm by with 9 comments

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Surprise, surprise: already this week, we’ve seen Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz dinging new rival Bing in an interview with Fox Business Network. But apparently they’re not through. In an interview with the same network, Google CEO Eric Schmidt offers his own completely unbiased criticism of the minor upstart of a rival:

It’s not the first entry for Microsoft. They do this about once a year. From Bing’s perspective, they’ve got a bunch of new ideas and there are some things that are missing. We think search is about comprehensiveness, freshness, scale and size of what we do. It’s difficult for them to copy that.

click through to view video of full interview

Refreshingly, Schmidt admits “We still don’t really know what you mean” when we enter search terms. Throughout the interview, Schmidt reinforces Google’s commitment to innovation (comprehensiveness, speed, depth, etc.), implying that Microsoft’s marketing push for Bing might detract from the time the company has to focus on improving its core technology.

And Schmidt’s not the only one getting in on the Bing Bashing—paidContent points out another Yahoo executive today disparaging Bing:

And following Bartz’s lead—as well as that of Google CEO Eric Schmidt—[Yahoo search VP Larry] Cornett also took a few jabs at Bing. While complimenting Bing for being “fast” and “integrated,” he said that it would be difficult to get people to try out another search service if it was not “radically different.” “I don’t think they’ve achieved that yet,” he said. Cornett said Yahoo had a leg up in introducing its own changes since people are already coming to to visit its other sites.

While Cornett emphasized Yahoo’s portal/destination status like CEO Carol Bartz did to FBN, Cornett was careful to reiterate his company’s commitment to search, after Bartz’s comments Monday had some search gurus doubting:

But . . . Cornett insisted Wednesday that search was still central to the company, adding the evidence that the new home page the company is expected to launch later this year will feature search more prominently. The list of “top searches,” for example, which currently lies at the bottom of the home page will be moved to the top right. “There is much more of an emphasis on search and discovering what people are searching for. I can’t share any stats yet but I think it’s a very solid improvement,” Cornett said at the RBC Capital Markets Technology, Media & Communications Conference. . . .

“I obviously can’t share too many details but search is a critical business for Yahoo. . . . If you look at reductions it has been to reinvest in the things that make the [most] sense for Yahoo.”

Good to know, Yahoo—before you get written off as a search engine forever for a few easily-misinterpreted statements.

What do you think? Are Yahoo and Google really superior, or are they just trying to sound that way to downplay the potential success of a new rival? And does it matter in the end—can Bing get off the ground despite their criticism?

  • Nothing surprising there. I guess if you’re Google and Yahoo, you need to respond somehow with all the press that Bing is getting. To me, Bing is a lot like Ask, except that they’ve actually updated their search algorithm this century.

  • Glenn

    Well you can’t listen to Carol Bartz, she’s too old to understand the internet. 🙂

  • I don’t see this launch as an event Google needs to worry about, but their continuing decline in relevance should be a MAJOR concern for Google.

  • Kathy Howe

    I’m a Google user…tried Yahoo but found it to “busy” and distracting. I kinda liked Bing and have used it a couple of times with good results.

  • I agree that Bing is another new innovation of Microsoft but its success cannot be assured. Users hardly want to use something new of the kind that already exist and is running smoothly.

    It is difficult to distract the users of Google until you have something different to offer.

  • Love the title! My experience mirrors several above. I’ve used Bing. It’s OK. Nothing there to make me switch from Google, though.

  • I used Bing. I liked it. It seemed to give good results. But it isn’t paying me. They should offer some monetary benefits to publishers to host the ads and encourage people to try it out.

    I think the other big problem is for most people, when you think search, you think Google. When you think nice portal site for maps, yellow pages, etc. you think Yahoo.

    It seems like such a big hurdle to get over, but Google did it. If they stay committed and keep up the press, free or paid, they’ve got a chance.

  • John

    I tried Bing, and I wish they would sort their results by date. News and links that are from 2005 at the top of the list while the newer stuff is buried makes research that much more difficult and irrelevant

  • Daryl Formen

    I hear rumors that Google is eating Schmidt’s words. Google is supposed to be having a meeting of its bigwigs to analyze Google — in an endeavor engineered and lead by Sergey Brin himself.

    In the meantime, I’ve switched to Bing after using it for two weeks.
    I get good results — not quite up to par with Google, but the other features (Travel, Health, media) and the look and feel are nice. Google seems dated.