The Big Bing
I came into a “Bing Breakdown” thinking that Google will always own search. In fact, I never would have bothered to stray from “googling,” but Microsoft caught my eye with an ad calling Bing a “Decision Engine…”
I’m a sucker for positioning, and that’s damn good. A decision engine… Okay, they got me. So I gave Bing a test spin today when I was trying to find a cheap flight to Hawaii.
And you know what? Bing’s good. Damn good. The Decision Engine saved me more than $100, and it found me the cheapest flight far faster than I could have found it by searching each travel site individually.
Bing has a great interface, it’s presented very nicely and, most importantly, the results it yielded were more helpful (at least for travel) than what Google gave me. Note, I didn’t say relevant, but helpful.
The Bing feature that brings you Airline Fares within its search engine is slick. And since a ton of searches are for low-priced travel (and travel in general) that gives Bing a window of opportunity. In fact, the Bing search found a flight that was more than $100 cheaper than anything else I could find online. A search engine that saves me $100? I’ll bite.
Google will probably still own search, but it’s not enough to bring up links to Expedia and Cheapflights.org anymore when someone searches for cheap flights. I don’t need a tour guide to the web, I need a secretary who is finding me the the best dry-cleaner, a cheap sushi spot near my 2 P.M. meeting and the best price on a Hugo Boss shirt for Friday night. (Oh by the way, Bing will PAY ME to shop for that shirt…)
And the ad campaign will drive trial. Which, when combined with the services being offered, should drive at least some adoption. Google is still providing a better map of the web, and even Microsoft would probably admit that. But the team from Redmond’s latest offering could still capture a nice chunk of the search pie by providing better results when someone needs an answer. Acting as a “decision engine” if you will.
There are two big problems for Bing, at least in terms of adoption. One, searching is still googling. No matter what, when I’m trying to find articles about Bing for research, I’m typing it into Google. But, with an 80 Million dollar ad-budget and a great “Position” as a “decision engine”, that one seems covered.
The other problem is that it might be too slick for its own good. It took about four tries before I could access the “is this a good deal” portion of the flights to Hawaii search. And the problem is, with a public that loves Google, that might be three tries too many.