I decided to give Bing 100% of my searches for one week to see if they’d con­vert me, and I’m happy to say that three days in I’m very impressed. Much has been writ­ten about the spe­cific fea­tures but I’m not only impressed with those (more on that below), I’m impressed with their entire approach.

I like the catchy name, I like that they’re call­ing them­selves a “deci­sion engine” and I like the way the ad cam­paign tied in the recent finan­cial melt­down, but most impor­tantly I like the way they’ve tar­geted “head” queries. It’s true they do not do as well on “tail” terms if you’re look­ing for a very spe­cific response (their data­base is clearly not as large as Google’s), but I like how they cat­e­go­rize results for queries like “San Fran­cisco” by show­ing top results then Weather-related results…

…then Hotels, Restau­rants and Maps below that.

To truly com­pete with Google and gain 30–50% mar­ket share, they’re going to have do a lot more. I’d like to see them do the fol­low­ing and really change the Search game:

  • Buy Twit­ter: real-time search is here to stay and would be a wel­come addi­tion to Bing’s search results
  • Inte­grate Dis­play ads into their search results
  • Intro­duce CPM pric­ing to the Search world for brand cam­paigns: many search mar­keters sim­ply want impres­sions on high vol­ume queries or to sup­port large brand cam­paigns, why not give them what they want?
  • Main­tain their high qual­ity con­tent net­work but get into the long-tail con­tent net­work Google is cur­rently dominating
  • Fight more aggres­sively on dis­tri­b­u­tion rela­tion­ships — they may never wrest AOL from Google given the Tim Arm­strong rela­tion­ship, but if they’re will­ing to spend $100MM on an ad cam­paign they should be will­ing to pay pub­lish­ers higher rates than Google
  • Com­pete more aggres­sively for mobile search volume
  • Inte­grate Bing all through­out the Microsoft prod­uct suite: I’d like to see a search box on every Win­dows desk­top, a search box in the top right cor­ner of Excel, Word, Pow­er­point, Out­look and so on, a search box in the Win­dows Media Player and on and on. Peo­ple want to search the Web from what­ever appli­ca­tion they’re in so let’s get the Bing peo­ple to walk across the Microsoft cam­pus to the Win­dows build­ing and inte­grate Search into every­thing Microsoft does
  • And finally, they should buy Yahoo! Search: this last move would cer­tainly make the game more inter­est­ing and pro­vide a viable threat to Google

Let’s hope Bing is more than just a flash in the pan and con­tin­ues to make inter­est­ing, aggres­sive moves in the next year. The Search mar­ket needs diver­sity and so far Bing is show­ing they came to play.

For more on how Omni­ture has quickly responded to the Bing launch, see this great post from Ben Gaines.

4 comments
Parry
Parry

Bill, I'm with you on Bing -- it has game. But I think it'll be a tough slog for them to gain the kind of market share they need. Chief among those reasons is apathy. Google is so ingrained into the daily lives of millions, and converting the masses will prove cumbersome for Redmond -- though I agree that integrating Bing into the fabric of the MS Office suite would be key.

David
David

True I agree that it is an amazing search engine, but it needs to roll out its features outside USA quicker, currently we have a Beta version within Australia which is a shame. If they are working just on US market it will never get scale with Google.com.au handling around 87-92% of all search within our market. As for a product name I think it is interesting and with the Chinese translation matching its product but not sure I want to see Bing on everything, but intersting to see Bing featured at the top of Microsoft.com

Mark
Mark

Knowing Google, we can expect something from them in response to Bing. A search engine battle would benefit the users in the end. Bing's interactivity impresses me much. Though I find its name a little inappropriate for a search engine, unlike http://Find.com, http://Ask.com, etc. But what matters most here are the search results.

Ken Lyons
Ken Lyons

Bing is a big improvement over MSN Live. I think this competition is good for Google. Let's 'em know they can't rest on their laurels and coast. It's also good for the searcher, as competition spurs innovation and the winner is the end user. Cheers! Ken Lyons