Ready to rev up a new search engine? Microsoft is gearing up to launch its newest search engine effort, the succinctly named (and Web 2.0-ish sounding) Bing, set for June 3, to compete in a market that Google currently rules.
It was no secret that Microsoft was getting ready to roll out a new search engine, and today, the company began the official roll-out of Bing - the successor of the company’s less than successful Live Search efforts. Formerly known as Kumo, Bing, which should become available worldwide by June 3, is Microsoft’s latest attempt to steal market share away from Google. According to Microsoft, Bing, while providing a good general search experience, wants to focus on providing an especially good user experience in four verticals: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition, and finding a local business.
Whether you’ll bother to try it or not, Microsoft has great hopes for it. Bing is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s search engine, and it’s innovative enough for Microsoft to try to rebrand what used to be called Live Search and spend around $80-$100m on promotion.
Good Enough is Not Good Enough in the Search Business
According to Microsoft, “30 percent of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result.” We haven’t been able to put Bing through its paces yet, so it remains to be seen if it actually works as well as Microsoft promises it will. We have seen too many promises in the area that have remained unfulfilled (we’re looking at you, Cuil), so we will hold back any judgment until we get to test Bing ourselves.
One thing is clear, though; a search engine that is only ‘good enough’ will not be enough to gain back any market share from Google, which now virtually controls the search engine market. Microsoft argues that this large amount of market share can make Google slow to innovate, but then, it remains to be seen if Bing can offer enough innovation to entice users to switch. Yahoo Search, after all, is also innovating furiously, but hasn’t been able to capture any new market share lately.
Bing and Ad Revenue
There’s already some suspicion that these tools aren’t just designed to help users, but to deter them from feeling the need to leave the site to get further details. Of course, the longer users spend on the Bing site, the better it is for Microsoft ad revenues. Company chief Steve Ballmer has already acknowledged the firm may be pressured to give cuts of that revenue to sites which Bing relies on for information.
Will Users Cling to Bing?
The site launches officially next Wednesday, though some users of Live Search will get Bing results from Monday.
One writer given an advance preview says he was surprised by how well it performs and concludes that in many areas it is competitive with Google. The problem is that with Google already so firmly established as the default for many users, a rival search tool will need to not only be substantially better to succeed, but must clearly demonstrate that advantage to would-be users.
Bing.com currently leads to a nice demonstration video, but Microsoft hopes to have the site fully deployed worldwide on June 3rd.
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