Some wags have already started saying that it stands for “but it’s not Google,” a statement that reveals just what a job Microsoft’s new Bing search engine has in front of it.
Google owns 90 per cent of the search engine market. Microsoft comes a distant third, behind Yahoo! with single figure market share. Bing, which rebrands Microsoft’s Live Search, and adds a dollop of new features, is Microsoft’s attempt at throwing down the gauntlet to Google and providing competition in the search engine market.
Bing launches next Wednesday, June 3rd, and Microsoft’s local partner, ninemsn, says that it isn’t expecting any flash and bang when it comes to acquiring visitors. “We’re only expecting a few per cent a year,” said Alex Parsons, ninemsn head of products.
“However search has not evolved in ten years,” he said. “Search doesn’t work first time, and it’s ripe for innovation.” One of those innovations is putting more contextual information on the first search page. For example, searching for the weather in Sydney, Australia, will bring up a graphical presentation of the day’s weather and the forecast for the following few days. Searching for ANZAC day not only tells you what the date of the anniversary is, but also the actual day that it falls on in any given year.
Images are presented on a single page – Parsons says that people like to scan through images rapidly, and a single page presentation makes it easier, he says. Videos also play as thumbnails on the search page. Microsoft has already spent billions on search. Bing represents a two-year effort, worth hundreds of millions, at leapfrogging the competition.
But will people try it?
According to the New York Times, the sound of the word Bing is meant to conjure the sound of finding something – that little bell that goes off in your head when you successfully make a search.
Microsoft and ninemsn are going to leverage PBL Media’s television and print properties in an effort to win customers. They also say that SEO customers won’t need to change their existing practices to suit the new search engine.