May 31, 2009

Searching for the Meaning of Bing




Microsoft’s new/revamped search engine, Bing, will be released June 3.  It promises to deliver more than the customary list of results when called upon to do a search; it is “more of a decision engine,” according to Microsoft SVP Yusuf Mehdi.


There will be inevitable exploration of the meaning of the moniker. (Bing has a certain ring to it. It’s much better, of course, than the boring “Live Search.”) Plus there is the bigger question of whether Bing will make a dent in Google’s dominance. But search for clues to another issue Bing brings up: Will it end the Microsoft-Yahoo search flirtation?


By some accounts, Bing seems like it would be more useful than a Google or Yahoo search. If you’re searching for something you’d like to buy, for example, Bing theoretically will serve up reviews, as well as places to buy the item and related accessories, laid out in a prettier and more organized way than just a simple vertical list of links.


Search for a movie star, and Bing shows you ways to refine your search by movie, images, or quotes, among other things. Below that, you get a list of related searches, such as searches for who that actor might be dating. Bing supposedly will add more features as it continues to try to provide more context with each search.


A possible positive for Microsoft: The depth of the searches seems to offer more opportunities for ad revenue. CEO Steve Ballmer has stressed the importance of search and advertising — Google’s bread and butter — in the past.


Of course, some people think simple is best, which is part of why Google’s so successful. Early impressions suggest Bing will lure some people who want to achieve a specific goal when doing a search, but that users’ trust in Google to bring them the most relevant results in the most basic of manners won’t wane. The trick will be to get people to think of Bing, too, when they think they might want an enhanced search. Microsoft will be spending a lot of money on the Bing branding campaign, CEO Steve Ballmer said today.


So this brings us to what this means for the long-running Microsoft-Yahoo partnership possibility. Is it still going to happen? After all, would Microsoft invest so heavily in Bing if it really thought a deal with Yahoo was imminent?


Also, some think that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s statement yesterday that the Sunnyvale company would consider selling search for “boatloads of money”really meant that she doesn’t want to sell. (See Gems from D7: On Yahoo, on the iPhone.) As for Microsoft, it will probably be concentrating its search efforts on rolling out Bing and making it sing.



Posted via web from Global Business News

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