Glowing blue, Seattle residents were yesterday treated to (or subjected to perhaps) the launch of Microsoft’s highly touted new search engine. The words Bing, glowing brightly on top of the Space Needle, kicked off, what Microsoft says is going to revolutionize our search engine experience. So confident they are of this fact, they have decided that a search engine is to be no longer referred to as a “search engine”, but rather a “decision engine.”
So, my question was, is it all hype?
The answer to that, at least in my mind, is actually fairly clear. Let’s look at this closer so you may decide for yourself.
Microsoft embarked on a research campaign last year trying to figure out what was wrong with search engines (or more precisely – THEIR search engine), looked at these issues in depth and created reports for these. Overwhelmingly, their insight and conclusions seem great. In fact, I would say that they have hit the proverbial nail right on the head. GREAT I’m ready for change! It seems they have discovered what we (Slick IT readers) have known all along – users want their search engine to quit being a pain in the ass.
For example, users want their search engine to actually bring up a hotel’s website when they key in the name of a hotel. They want their search queries to be organized and they want it to actually be related to their query. Why? Because they want to make decisions from this information. They want to decide on a winter vacation. They want to decide on a new pair of boots. They want to decide on a new adult dating website. Everything is about making a decision according to the folks in Redmond.
OK, I agree. That’s probably all true. Instinctively, we are now left with the burning question. How did the makers of Vista accomplish all of this?
Ok, so they have now incorporated “Best Match” technology that “surfaces” the best answer. Secondly, they have “Deep Links” that provide more insight into a search by getting deeper within the site. “Preview” is also a new feature that actually gives a glimpse of the website when you hover over the link. Finally, there is instant answers that will tell you what time your spouse’s flight will arrive just by keying in the flight number.
Well, I have to be honest. I have used Microsoft’s search engine in the past and was presented with what basically amounted to a pile of crap with each and every search so I was curious to see how they had revolutionized it and were going to forever change my life.
My first search query was pretty specific. I simply keyed in:
And my “Best Match” result:
Result: dog's "lick it up" t-shirt in Gene Simmons Family Jewels in AETV ...
Ok, so that wasn’t quite what I was looking for…maybe it was just a bad example and surely our site will pop up somewhere in the results. Right? Well, I was wrong. After going through three pages of “LINKS”(I thought that we didn’t have to sift through thousands of links in Bing) I still couldn’t find the site.
OK, let’s try again.
boot server 2008
And my results:
Result:Page after page of Microsoft Certification Boot camps.
Hmm, as an IT professional looking for an answer as to why my server won’t boot, I don’t think that this is what I was looking for. Maybe if I was looking for certification boot camps I would have searched for Server 2008 Boot Camps.
Ok, well let’s try a third and final time.
QK 8161 (An Air Canada Flight)
And the result:
Result:Flight 8161 is enroute and on time.
That appeared to work well. It is exactly what I was looking for. But is it revolutionary? Umm, unfortunately not. Google also delivered the same information on the first hit. Moreover, google was also able to deliver exactly what I was looking for when I seached for my first two queries. In the case of the first one, it provided a link right to our page and in the case of the second query, it delivered:
Server 2008 Boot Manager - Realtime Windows Server
Again, it delivered exactly the kind of information I would expect when I enter a word included in “computer jargon” with a “piece of a computer system”. This actually highlights what has always been wrong with the MSN, Live, or now Bing search engines. There appears to be no logic at all applied to collocating words and their connotations to deliver high quality search results. The algorithm has ALWAYS appeared to be flawed to me and Bing seems to follow suit. Fundamentally, I don’t think Microsoft has changed any of the underlying code of their search engine, but rather this is just another attempt to rebrand. The ideas seem nice and I am sure Google will implement some similar features in upcoming updates.
Bing is all hype. I suspect that Google will now remain my default “decision engine” for some time to come.
Thanks for reading this and please feel free to comment below should you disagree. I welcome any remarks!