New Search Engine Launch: Windows Live becomes … Bing!
Microsoft’s revamp of their search engine Windows Live surprised everyone with an early launch in early June. Press releases from Microsoft labeled the new engine as a “decision engine” that would reshape internet searching as we knew it. For instance, Bing! began by organizing search results and grouping those results by category on the left-hand navigation, instead of just listing links by ranking popularity. Bing! also deployed a Shopping feature which organized the searched product by price, specifications, and consumer reviews. Instead of reading through each listing and mentally comparing one site’s offering to the other, Bing! organizes Shopping results so that consumers only concerned with a certain feature can easily filter through results. An awesome feature to test out just in time for Father’s Day this month.
One of the most publicized features of the new search engine is Bing! Travel – a fully-functional trip planner including flight and hotel accommodation searches. Using data trends, users are rewarded with Microsoft software capabilities that not only describe amenities, have updated airport information, and function just like your favorite budget travel sites – Bing! Travel will give you the lowdown on the likelihood of fare rate changes. Using data trend and prediction technology, this money-saving feature advises consumers to either wait on purchasing the tickets because prices will drop, or urges them to buy now while the price is low. A search engine that’s looking out for my wallet in these tough times? Nice.
The homepage still has a Windows Live feel with high-quality pictures taken of scenic countrysides, roving hills or quaint foreign villages, but they have added an “Explore” section to their search bar so users can quickly navigate to a pre-populated search result within a specific category like Health, Images, Maps, News, Videos, etc. Hoping to save searcher time and avoid frustration with the link-sifting experience found from its major competitors, Bing! is all about the user experience.
Microsoft reports to spend $80-100 million promoting Bing! via Internet, tv, radio, and print advertising campaigns in the United States. And while they’re clearly a direct competitor of Google and Yahoo!, Microsoft advertising isn’t naming the other two search engine giants directly, instead opting to focus only on the new search engine’s features and search options.
Through all of the hype some loved Bing! and some hated it. Rave reviews came over the organization and especially Shopping comparison and money-saving Travel features that Bing!’s new platform provided. Those who were not so fond of the new search engine complained of the lack of social media integration, search result accuracy, and general unimpressive-ness. The Love-it or Hate-it Bing! divide was even experienced at our own office: witness our passionate debate at the NSD Blog [insert link here]. Regardless of whether it’s our personal search engine of choice, NetSearch Direct will be taking full advantage of the layout and organization the new search engine offers, and we will using Bing! to promote our client’s websites and local businesses. For our clients, we hope Bing! translates to cha-ching!
And if you’re wondering about the motivation behind the name, Microsoft’s Bing! Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Search) states a few theories. We invite you to pick your favorite:
A) Microsoft indicated that the name Bing "was memorable, short, easy to spell, and that would function well as a URL around the world" and reminded people of the sound made during "the moment of discovery and decision making."
B) Qi Lu, president of Microsoft Online Services, also announced that Bing's official Chinese name is bì yìng which literally means "very certain to respond" or "very certain to answer" in Chinese.
C) Steve Ballmer recently revealed in an interview with Wired magazine that his original inspiration for the name came from the character Chandler Bing from the popular US sitcom "Friends".