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