Bing to hit Australia next Wednesday

Bing to hit Australia next Wednesday

Summary: The local versions of Microsoft's latest crack at Google, a new search engine called Bing, will go live in Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday in beta form.

TOPICS: Google, Browser

The local versions of Microsoft's latest crack at Google, a new search engine called Bing, will go live in Australia and New Zealand on Wednesday in beta form.

Example homepage
(Credit: Microsoft)

Journalists experienced a live demo this morning from servers in the US, but next week will see it moved onto production servers to bring the new product down under.

Ninemsn, a joint venture between Microsoft and PBL Media, led the launch of the search engine this morning, stating the company's hopes of getting a bigger slice of the search market, which ninemsn director of MSN products Alex Parsons said would be $800 million in Australia in the 2010 financial year. "Search really is now the new rivers of gold," he said.

Bing has been two years in the making according to ninemsn. Despite scepticism that Microsoft could do better with Bing than it could with Windows Live Search, Parsons thought that this time the search engine would gain traction.

"In this market, brand is king" he said. No one in Australia really knew about Windows Live Search, he said. The goal was to reach 2 per cent market share next year and then to continue growing incrementally, Parsons said, without spending much on advertising for the new site in Australia.

Ninemsn would instead use its "own backyard" to drive traffic to the site. There will be links to Bing via Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, ninemsn and the ACP magazines. There will also be sections after Channel Nine television shows telling viewers to access Bing for more information and users who go to Live Search will be redirected to Bing.

According to ninemsn, 8.2 million people visit its site each month, which it says represents 70 per cent of Australia's active internet audience.

The advertising would be sold through Yahoo Search Marketing, which would hold a trade show to educate the market. Those working in search engine optimisation wouldn't need to change their existing practices, Parsons said.

Parsons took gathered media through a demonstration showing new features such as "instant answers", which guesses from search data what a viewer might really be looking for and provides direct answers as opposed to just a site link; hover preview, which allows searchers to see a skeleton of a page's map without clicking on a link; and new features for being able to search for images and video.

Alex Parsons

Ninemsn's Alex Parsons
(Credit: Ninemsn)

Those features would be available on Wednesday while other special features for travel search, local search, shopping search and health search would be added "as soon as possible".

The idea was to make search less painful, quicker and informed by other users' experience in related searches, Parsons said. "Consumers shouldn't have to rely on their own intuition," he said.

The home site for the search engine is the most visual differentiation from the Google search engine, featuring a high-definition image. The Australian Bing will feature images of landscapes such as Uluru, events such as the Melbourne film festival or Australian fauna. Hotspots on the image allow a user to find information relevant to the picture by hovering over it.

According to ninemsn CEO Joe Pollard, the homepage gives the site the ability to move with the mood of the nation by, for example, placing images from a current election. The homepage will not be for sale for advertising, she said.

A mobile site will also be ready for next week, although Parsons said that not all of the features leant themselves to the different format. He did not specify which would be cut.

There will be a team working on the localised version, however, how many people this will be and where they were based was not announced today. Pollard said there would be an announcement soon.

Topics: Google, Browser

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Bing

    I personally normally use Live Search, then Google, if i cannot find what i want.

    Does this mean that i am going to be driven to a new unknown search engine.

    i am getting too old to learn another search engines peculiarities
  • No need

    From next Wednesday night, anytime you go to "Live Search" you will get "Bing" instead.

    You should not need to learn anything new but you should be pleasantly surprised by how well the search results are displayed to you... they'll be MUCH better than LiveSearch is/was.
  • Shill Pickle

    Thanks for the unbiased posting, Bill Gates...I mean Glen.

    (Bing isn't even released to the public yet, you should be less obvious, Bill,...uh, Glen).
  • And...

    Microsoft follows and does a poor job of following.

    Don't use live at all - not a patch on Google.
  • microsoft the me too king!

    Obviously not a blatant rip off - Google doesnt have a full size picture. I'm sure those folks still stuck on dial up will be thrilled.

    I love the comment, " No one in Australia really knew about Windows Live Search". How could you not know about Live Search when it is shoved down your throat as the default IE search engine and if you install messenger. Get your head out of your clacker microsoft. Everyone knows Live Search and everyone knows how crap it is.

    I see no reason for switching to this over Google.
  • Boo Hoo

    Stop whingeing! Microsoft have for the first time in 30 years made an effort to actually be innovative and all you can do is cry about how bad they are, or how hard it will be to learn, etc.

    For better or worse, it looks DIFFERENT to Google or anything else we've seen up until now. Wait until Wednesday to judge if it is a good or a bad thing.
  • ?

    Are you serious?? Take away the photo and is almost a direct copy of Google. Tell me 1 feature mentioned that isnt already done by Google. How is this innovative?

    I like microsoft products, I use them daily! But innovation is not something they are capable of.

    To me, this looks more like an attempt to get Google sucked into litigation which is how microsoft has successfully crushed smaller more innovative competitors. Did someone say Netscape?. I cant see it working in this case though. Google is not such a small fish, and unlike Netscape they have not slowed down their innovation. Microsofts only advantage is that they will probably make Bing the default search engine for IE - which may gain them some traction if Bing is actually less woefully inadequate than Live was.
  • Bong!

    Tried it, it's fast, and found all my tweets too and traces of me in social networks.

    Yes, a search engine, but innovative? I can't see how.

    It is merely a platform for MSN to sell ads, let's be real. It's a service, Jim, but for advertisers, not searchers. At least Google made a semblance of showing they were after relevancy, Bing-Bong seems to just point to ads. I tried looking for my house, it plopped me a few kilometres away and kept re-writing my postcode.

    it is a kludgy, stock-photo-enhanced version of Google; the younger brother who could never catch-up.
  • microsoft fail search

    Hilarious! Bing must be that fail sound windows makes when you try to click on something it thinks you shouldnt (and you keep clicking it in frustration because you know you should).

    I was just looking for a training course for MS SQL Server SSIS so I go to the microsoft AUSTRALIA site and click on training. Of course, it takes me to the US site since people only do training there. I search on SSIS and find 1 training course. I then click on the course name and the result is not the actual course description (silly me) but a search result - or lack thereof. It then says it is sending the query to BING which also finds NO RESULT!

    So, I cut and paste the course name into Google and bang, first result takes me to the course description on the Microsoft site.

    Ha ha, classic!