Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But It's Not Google (BING)

Everybody calls it Coke but Pepsi still sells a lot of soda. Microsoft hopes that even if you use Google as a verb, you'll use Bing to do your Googling.

Microsoft's job will be harder than Pepsi's, which its reported $80-$100 advertising budget for Bing seems to acknowledge.

People don't do online searches; they Google. That would be like if the very act of drinking were called Coking or if wiping your runny nose were called Kleenexing. Google has more than 80% of the search engine market. Website developers work to get their sites to rank high not just on search engines but specifically on Google searches.

Click to enlarge

I was happy to see that a Bing search for "personal documentary" returned my own as the top result.

Bing's high-def homepage image contrasts with Google's mostly plain text layout. Looks great, sure. But Google's simplicity makes it a perfect test page if you're having trouble with your Internet connection. If any page is going to load it's Google. Loading Bing's page sent my laptop into mild hysterics. With its cooling fan on overdrive, the computer huffed and puffed as it worked to load the page.

Browsers don't help Bing's cause. Newer versions of both Firefox and Internet Explorer include search boxes. You can change the default searcher from Google but Bing is not one of the options.

Even if Microsoft makes Bing the only search option in future versions of IE, guess what? Firefox has overtaken IE as the most popular browser. That happened in part because Firefox was better and partly because it let people protest Microsoft's hegemony.

That leads to Bing's biggest hurdle in trying to topple the king of Internet search engines: Google works! Google has not given Microsoft the same kind of ammunition that Windows' faults gave Apple for its brilliant "I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" ads. Google gives users what they want. For free.

Good luck getting people to Google on Bing.


Ike said...

Only one problem.

The vast majority of the people I know who have tested Bing (myself included) have been impressed with the results, enough to say they thought they were better than Google.

Now, there is a big hurdle between "I intend" to use Bing more, and defeating the muscle memory that reaches for the GOLE keys.

John said...

The landscape is littered with products and services that may have been better than existing market leaders but failed to overtake them.

How is Microsoft going to convince people that its product is better than Google? How do you even measure that?

There will be contrarians who'd like to see Google cut down to size just on general principal. That was certainly a factor in Firefox surpassing Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, this potential rival is from Microsoft, hardly the picture of an underdog.

Microsoft's might may make a dent in Google's primacy but I think it waited to long to attack. And, unlike Windows, Google didn't win its market share through a monopoly. People had other options and chose Google. There isn't a popular groundswell for an alternative to Google.

Bing may succeed. But I doubt I'll ever hear someone tell me that they're going to bing something to learn more about it.

Bubba Stokes said...

I use Firefox on some computers -I like i. But Google doesn't seem to work quite as well in providing relevant choices based on past searches with Firefox as it does with IE.