Friday, May 29, 2009
Will bing be the thing?
Microsoft's bing--it's 879th Google-killer, is coming. Which, I suppose, is propitious because I have been thinking a lot about Microsoft lately and if, in a sense, Microsoft is the 21st-Century version of the American auto industry.
By that I mean, Microsoft is looking to extend their market dominance if not hegemony by throwing their weight around rather than by building a better, more innovative product.
bing is meant to be Microsoft's answer to something they call "search overload." Throughout their 2:46 video on bing.com they trumpet bing as not search, but decision. The hackneyed video ends with this line: "The world doesn’t need just another search engine, it needs a decision engine."
I dunno. This seems once again like Microsoft is proclaiming something like eminent domain over the world of search. I use Google probably two-dozen times a day. Google, as my 17-year-old pointed out, is a verb. It's that entwined in our daily habits. And it will take more than the "divine right of Microsoft" to get me to change my habits.
bing might very well be superior to Google. Just as American automakers are now saying things like "Buick scores higher than Toyota on Initial Quality Surveys." But, and here's my point, product superiority is not enough. Companies and consumers are in relationships--a relational continuum that stretches from outspoken disdain to fervent advocacy. My sense is Microsoft (like GM) is at the wrong end of that continuum. It will take more than a new and potentially better product to ameliorate the residue of bad feelings that Microsoft has fomented.
BTW, I found both the Bing Crosby photo above and the video of Bing singing a wonderful song from the 1942 movie "The Road to Morocco" on Google. It wasn't an issue for me.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 7:10 AM