Is Bing the sound of search? (Part IV)
Do we need another search Engine?
I have to wonder whether users are really crying out for a new search engine.
The only real answer for that question would be to provide a search engine that would actually be worthy of using instead of Google — one that would be so compelling that we’d want to change our habits to use it.Bing isn’t that search engine. It’s just another nice Web site. If it wasn’t Microsoft that was launching it, you’d probably never even hear of it. Not because it doesn’t have good ideas. It’s just not earth shattering — and that’s what it would take for most people to break their Google habits.Although Microsoft is positioning Bing as a decision engine, it actually plays like a bunch of individual applications, each with interfaces that are together and sometimes look and feel similar.
Will $ 80 Million buy Microsoft Traction?
Microsoft will spend $80 million to get us to try its new search engine, to be called “Bing.” Could that possibly work? (Well, at least it’s not caught in the confusing branding world of “Windows Live” . . .)
We all used to use Yahoo or AltaVista until we switched to Google. We stayed with Google because it was better.
Now Google is more than just habit. Google has our IDs, customizes our searches, searches our desktops and our email and delivers neatly integrated Maps, reviews, and video searches. It works. There is every reason to stay and no reason to leave.
But $80 million buys enough impressions to get people to try something new.
For this to make the slightest dent, here’s what has to happen.
First, the search has to be better.
Second, the search has to be qualitatively different. Not just better search, but “holy cow this is different.” Like it was when you first tried an iPhone, or first saw TiVo. This could be a better way to organize different media. It could mean connecting with social applications. It could mean searches that get better at understanding meaning so we all don’t have to think in Boolean logic. Frankly, if I can imagine it, it’s not different enough. So it has to blow all of us away.
Third, it has to integrate with everything else, better than Google does.
And finally, it has to work equally well on all browsers, all devices, and all PCs, even Apples and Linux machines.
Thus from what it looks like, Bing will bring in some new features to the game and the search ineterface but even with its $80-100 million moneys on advertising, it will be far before it does something radically different to outmode Google totally. That too at a period of time, when Google itself is innovating so furiously all over. Unless Bing has more to it than we have seen till now, it is destined to the same fate as .NET, Zune and Vista…..