Google missed a marketing turn with the 'decision engine' thing

Does Google have Bing envy? Is the search giant running scared over Microsoft's search marketing blitz?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Does Google have Bing envy? Is the search giant running scared over Microsoft's search marketing blitz?

The New York Post seems to think so. In a report the Post blares:

You'd think nothing would get under the skin of search giant Google.

But co-founder Sergey Brin is so rattled by the launch of Microsoft's rival search engine that he has assembled a team of top engineers to work on urgent upgrades to his Web service, The Post has learned.

Brin's mission: Find out how Bing's algorithm differs from its own.

Is Brin really running scared? Probably not, but Google has always carried a bit of healthy paranoia. Bing is optimized around verticals such as shopping, travel and health. As noted last week, Bing works fine as a default search engine and I have no qualms recommending it to others.

What's really going on? Google has commoditized search and now competitors are doing this "decision engine" spiel. Google's big challenge right now is marketing. How does a company that has talked search since its inception push this decision engine thing?

The first hint that Google was pondering a repositioning was Brin's Founder's Letter to shareholders. Wolfram Alpha clearly got under Google's skin with its mission to create something that understands what people are pondering. At the time, Brin said:

I think it will soon be possible to have a search engine that “understands” more of the queries and documents than we do today. Others claim to have accomplished this, and Google’s systems have more smarts behind the curtains than may be apparent from the outside, but the field as a whole is still shy of where I would have expected it to be.

And now Bing enters the picture. Bing also hopes to be a decision engine with a "deep understanding" of how folks use the Web.

Now Google has to position itself as an understanding engine. In many respects, Google is already there but with shiny new search objects launching all the time the search giant is going to have to nail its messaging.

More reading:

  • Schmidt: Bing Has Not Changed What Google Is Doing
  • My Bing experiment: Can it be the default search engine?
  • Bartz: Bing isn't all that (and neither is a Microsoft search deal)
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