Bing Is On The Way

Bing?  What? 

I’m very familiar with Dave Bing, one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and recently elected mayor of Motown.  I have a passing knowledge of multi-millionaire (and Elizabeth Hurley baby daddy) Steve Bing.  And a little research brings up Fortune Magazine’s Stanley Bing, author of the intriguing “100 Bulls**t Jobs…And How to Get Them”.

But I can’t say that Bing was all that important to me before today.  That is, before news broke about the pending launch of bing.com.

Today’s New York Times has the scoop on Microsoft’s newest “answer” in its battle with Google in online search.  And Microsoft C.E.O. Steve Ballmer sat down for a Q&A with Miguel Helft of the Times about the launch of Bing within the next week.

Lots of chatter about the general satisfaction that most users have with market leader Google, which (along with #2 Yahoo) account for nearly 85 percent of all searches.  There is also a sense that anything new that Microsoft can roll out with Bing can be easily replicated by Google & Yahoo.  So, while Microsoft continues its dance with Yahoo to form some measure of business partnership, Ballmer and his team will try to push the benefits of Bing on a skeptical public.

Here are some of Bing’s key features, as quoted from the Times:

The most noticeable new feature in Bing is what Microsoft executives call a table of contents, a navigation rail that allows users to refine their searches and that changes with each query.

A search for Taylor Swift, for instance, gives users the option to quickly zero in on things like images, videos, lyrics and tickets. A search for Elvis Presley will offer slightly different options — no tickets, but a fan club.

In a search for Honda Civic, the top suggested refinement is the word “used,” but in one for Hyundai Sonata it is “problems,” because search data suggest that those are the most frequent follow-up queries associated with those cars.

In many cases, Bing also extracts information from Web pages and presents it an easy-to-digest format. A search for U.P.S. will deliver a search box to track parcels, as well as a phone number for customer service. A search for “Terminator Salvation” will display movie times at nearby theaters.

Bing also presents more detailed results in four search categories — travel, health, shopping and local. In browsing the shopping area for a Canon camera, for instance, Bing extracts and displays information from reviews covering things like image quality and size.

Bing - saving you time & money?

Bing - saving you time & money?

Will it be a game-changer?  Too early to tell.  But there’s no doubt that Microsoft has the resources to make a big splash, as evidenced by the $100 million ad campaign that will certainly make Bing a household name in short time. 

The bottom line here is that competition is good.  I’m anxious to see what improvements Bing offers and just as anxious to see how Google and Yahoo respond in kind.

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~ by acm213 on May 28, 2009.

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