My editor-in-chief Larry Dignan posted a short time ago about Bing, Microsoft's newly branded search engine. His first thoughts were that of positive ones and had a nice first impression of the site as:
- Bing is quick (all posts);
- The interface is clean;
- And the search results were handy. Here’s the results from my Wilmington Blue Rocks search (remember I tried that with Wolfram/Alpha).
I have to disagree.
Bing, at the moment, is merely a reincarnation of Live Search, Microsoft's failed search engine. There is little-to-nothing new in the Bing release, except the ridiculous name and features seemingly stolen from Google.
Dogpile was one of the reasonable search engine brands during the late 90's and early 00's, which when the Internet generation was just starting, seemed an unusual but likely choice due to the name of the engine. Where is it now? Around 1,500 in the Alexa traffic rank. I mean, people search for Neowin more than they search for Dogpile, which really puts them to shame.
With Bing being a "difference engine" which we have yet to see, there may well be some new advancements which bridges that of Google and WolframAlpha; Bing being the middle-man in the search arena, but I am not holding my breath.
For a start:
- The front page is too cluttered and confusing. Sure, it's nice to have some graphics there and personalise the page a bit, but it takes my eyes a while to adjust to where the search box is.
- People want search, and nothing more. It's a brave attempt of Microsoft's to try and broaden the intellectual horizons of those visiting the site, but let's face it, if you want search, you don't really want anything else. You'll want a search engine that will yield results straight away and don't really want to be faffing around with "hot air ballooning" or "holidays in Turkey". If you wanted a holiday in Turkey, you would have searched for it already. Stop preempting my thoughts!
- Bing is a stupid name. Google isn't much better but it has been defined in our vocabulary as a statue of our lives; a pillar of our society. People will continue to "Google" a term, but I can't seeing "Bing" catching on too far. Use it too often and you'll start to sound like a Mr. Bean ripoff.
- There's nothing spectacularly new. People normally expect a new product to have new features. Most of the time, when a product has changed name it's normally in line with a new set of features. Maybe I simply haven't noticed any changes, considering myself and millions of others never used Live Search to begin with.
The long and the short of it is that Microsoft can plough hundreds of millions of dollars into online search and still maintain it. They won't stop until they beat Google, and it will simply never happen.
Go home, Microsoft. Sleep on it, and wake up in the morning with something new and exciting. Don't compete with something you know you can't contend with.