A New Search Engine Is (Apparently) Born

So if you haven’t heard, the latest news coming from the technology world is that Microsoft is set to unveil it’s latest attempt at squashing the search engine giants Yahoo and Google. How exactly? By revamping their existing search engine with a totally new method of conducting search queries online. So dubbed “Bing”, it was unveiled by Microsoft head Steve Ballmer and is set to go live on June 3. 

From my early read on reviews on sites like CNET, Computer World, the Associated Press, and MarketWatch, it seems to be getting some pretty positive reviews but not everyone is buying into it. According to CNET’s Rafe Needleman, the queries that he’s run in initial previews of the new search engine have resulted in more updated and current search results. The functionality of the site helps to apparently limit for clicks as with Google, you’d need to click on the “News” tab for more news information about specific search queries, but not with Bing. 

I’m pretty relived that they haven’t called Bing the next “Google killer” because that just sets all sorts of expectations about how it’ll turn out and if the end reaction isn’t positive, Microsoft has probably spared itself the added humiliation like other search engine colleagues (i.e. Cuil). But from what I hear, it seems that Microsoft is pretty dead set on running wild with the search engine industry and has dedicated serious resources towards making Bing work and achieve success.

But what are the chances of Bing? Well first of all, I think this quote from the Associated Press says it all:

Microsoft’s last effort, Live Search, failed to catch on partly because the software maker didn’t do much to promote it. Marketing is no guarantee of success — IAC heavily advertised makeovers of Ask.com — but this time, Microsoft appears to be taking no chances. Ad Age reported Microsoft plans to spend as much as $100 million on advertising Bing.

People tend not to think about Live Search or Microsoft as one of the top two spots for conducting search. Just the fact that they’re rolling out a new brand that no one really has heard before outside of the technology sphere will greatly reduce the traffic on the website – regardless of how cool the functionality is. But I am glad that there are reports that the software giant will spend about $100 million to get the name out there. 

What’s even interesting about Bing is something coming from an article published by John Dvorak at MarketWatch that stated Microsoft was looking at their new search tool as a “decision engine”. Is this truly what it could be? Seeing that I haven’t previewed Bing or even seen its functionality in action, I’d have to say, judging from what others have reported, that it could very well help shape people’s decisions. Dare we say it? Is Bing on the forefront of the semantic web? I doubt it, but if it is all that it says it is, then you’ll probably see it help evolve the way search is being done.

Just look at the functionality that is reported to be there, according to a Microsoft insider’s own experience with Bing:

  • Updated side navigation that includes “related searches” so you’re apparently able to check out different deviations of your queries.
  • New breadcrumb trail that keeps track of your search history. Now you’ll be able to remember what you searched previously to get specific web results.
  • A “best match” feature that helps you find what you’re looking for.
  • Shopping with Bing can yield an Amazon.com-like experience, with ways to narrow results by price, brand and the availability of free shipping, without leaving the search page. (Source: AP)
  • To help users find information more quickly, Bing’s algorithm ranks search results based on how relevant they were for other users. (Source: Computer World)

There’s much more about Bing that remains to be seen. Fortunately I’ve been able to secure webcast access with Microsoft tomorrow to hopefully check out what’s so cool about Bing – thanks to the great folks at SHIFT Communications. Nevertheless, if Bing holds true to the hype and emerges as a great “decision engine”, we may see Microsoft’s emergence as a contender for the search engine title.

Image credit: CNET

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.