Unexpectedly Microsoft unleashed the preview (beta) of their new (or is it rebranded?)
search engine decision-engine called Bing earlier than expected. While everyone was waiting with baited breath and sharpened knives for June 3rd when it was supposed to be available Microsoft uncharacteristically launched early. As I headed to bed late last night (or early this morning) the reports were beginning to trickle in but rather than stretch the patience of my wife any further I decided to wait until today to have a look and see what was being said.
Not surprisingly the majority of comments being made on the tech blogs can pretty well be summed up with the typical FAIL statement. There were a couple of surprises though but on the whole the response has been just as I expected it to be – biased. It's not surprising I guess given the love affair that much of the tech blogosphere and Web 2.0 hippies have with anything even remotely Google.
Mind you some of the points trying to be made are just outrageously stupid that I can't believe that supposedly smart people even posted them let alone think that we would swallow them whole. So rather than really extend a lot of words rehashing what has already been said I figured I'd take a look at what the wise people of the tech blogosphere had to say.
The stupidly outrageous
Of all the crap to come out the lead position obviously has to go to the fuss being made around Bing being the newest provider of porn. It all started with a message on Twitter from Loic Le Meur, the man behind Seesmic, when he posted this
To which M.G. Siegler was quick to get into print when he wrote this
This is just too good. One of the features of Microsoft's just launched Bing search engine is that it auto-plays videos in results when you hover over them. Naturally, the first thing a number of people, like Loic Le Meur, did was search for "sex" or "porn." The results are majestic — if you're a teenager looking for a way around porn filters on your computer. And this isn't artful porn or something like it, it's straight-up, hardcore pornography.
Sorry MG but I expected better of you than this. Sure it makes for a great headline and is sure to help the pageviews but you neglected one important thing. Do the same thing on Google and you will get the same kind of results. At least Mark "Rizzn" Hopkins was journalistic enough to point this fact out in his post.
My take on this: This was nothing more than sensationalistic attention getting by people who should have known better. Any search engine, as Mark pointed out, should return results directly connected to your search query. The fact that Bing does as good a job as Google – or better – should be a testament to how good it is. To insinuate that this is a bad things for Bing to be doing while not even acknowledging that Google behaves the same way is just facetious and stupid.
The overwhelming reaction I have seen so far today has been the typical Microsoft sucks – Bing FAILs type of stuff which doesn't surprise me in the least. Microsoft could have actually developed a totally unique and killer search (decision-engine) engine only to have people claim that it failed. The thing is that Microsoft isn't stupid enough to think that they could even come close to taking away any market share from Google regardless of what they launched.
The web reality is that Google is the search king and Microsoft knows that but that doesn't mean that the company can't bring something to market that does something different when it comes to search and does it well.
Has it achieved that with Bing?
While Duncan thinks otherwise I think it is still too early to be claiming Bing is a failure (other than I still think it's a stupid name). That hasn't stopped the tech know-it-alls though. Whether it be just the headline of a post to semi in-depth posts the naysayers abound
But in most respects, Google still rules. The fact is that Bing is an incomplete beta, and while it's not bad, it's not actually a match for Google at the moment.
Microsoft Unveils Bing Search Engine. Nice! Now, Back to Google via Business Hacks
So, yeah, there's some good stuff here. But for now Google will remain my go-to search engine, because I know it'll give me the most accurate results.
Microsoft's 'Bing' Search Engine Debuts, But It's No Google via webmonkey
While Bing is definitely Microsoft's most impressive search engine to date, it still lacks anything game-changing enough to make us switch away from Google.
Banging on Bing: A Bummer via The Noisy Channel
But I can't say I'd be thrilled. I've only had a short time to play with Bing, but I'm not overwhelmed. In fact, I'm quite disappointed, given their big talk about deliver a "decision engine", I expected at least a little bit of innovation in the user experience. No such luck, The focus is still on the ranked list, and their ranking is, at least to my taste, perceptibly inferior to Google's.
Bing: Am I Missing Something? via Technologizer
For me however, Bing just isn't it. I'm glad to see Microsoft is finally serious about search — but I don't think matching your competition is going to win the day in the end.
The one point I have argued from the beginning was the choice of Bing as the new name. Allen Stern took up this point but from a different aspect in his post on Bing this morning. I'm including it in the negative column because … well.. Allen isn't all that hot on Bing period
Will Bing be the next Google or the next Cuil? Who knows at this point but what I do know is that had they used the Live name for the brand, they would have been further down the better path.
The Positive – or at least an attempt at it
To a certain extent I was a little surprised at the fact that Bing has gotten some good press but of all of the reaction I have read so far the biggest surprise had to come TechCrunch. We don't normally link to them but in this case I unlike them I have to set any bias aside because their support was such a surprise.
Apparently Bing Is Something Of A Hit via TechCrunch
My thoughts on Bing: I like it. And I'd consider using it as my search engine. But like many people I'm used to Google and I know how to find the things I'm looking for. Bing returns very different results for a lot of queries, which is great.
As far as the rest of the positive tech blogosphere response it went something like this.
Bing: Is That an Acronym for "Bing Is Not Google"? via Digital Daily
…. there's a lot to impress. Bing is fast — very fast, actually. It's local results are robust, accurate and usable. This search for "pizza near 94117," for example, returns not just a list of pizza parlor homepages, but phone numbers, directions, reviews, coupons and bird's eye maps as well. Video search is deep and the ability to further calibrate it by length, screen size and resolution is a nice touch.
Bing - is this Google's Netscape Time? via Broadstuff
We've been trying Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, for the best part of the day and – almost surprised to say – it's rather good.
In the end
Anyone who thought that Microsoft would come out of the gate hoping that Bing was going to be a Google killer is being silly. I am sure that the numbers will look good for the next couple of months as people stop by and kick the tires but I think that Microsoft would be happy to see their percentages of search users begin to even move in an upward trend.
Bing isn't a Google killer. Period.
That doesn't mean though that it won't find a loyal audience, possibly myself included. It also doesn't mean that this is going to be the end product. Search is as constantly evolving field and I think we can expect to see Bing continue to experiment and improve over time.
And really that is all we can expect for a company to do in such a volatile market.