When Microsoft announced the launch of their new search decision engine Bing! a bit over a week ago my first reaction was something like “right – here goes one more failed attempt of someone trying to catch up with Google…”.
Still it was of course mandatory to try the new site, for curiosity on the one hand, all the buzz on the other hand and last but not least because an old friend of mine recently switched his propeller hat for something else and is now working at and for “project bing!”.
So I have been playing around with it for some time now and must say that there are a few things I did not expect. First up the design, is it just me or is this actually the first time MS launched a website does not try to mimic Windows or any other Microsoft product, as e.g. Bing’s predecessor, the less fortunate Live Search did? To me it simply looks like a neatly designed web2.0 site and if it wasn’t for the copyright notice at the bottom I would not have expected Microsoft to be the owner of the site. In my opinion a very welcome change in politics.
The second and far more important thing is that – again other than Live – the service works surprisingly well and they even implemented a few new features that are unavailable elsewhere, which also is a very welcome change to having “yet another google rip-off”.
For all I can tell so far MS has done its homework well this time and once again gotten it right (or at least working decently) in version three as Bing seems to actually live up to the promise of being a viable alternative in search (yes, search, I still prefer to make my own decisions). If MS continues the good work Bing has the potential to become a major inconvenience for Google and since (according to StatCounter) Bing had already leapfrogged Yahoo!’s search for one day it could also become an actual problem for Yahoo!. It’ll be interesting to see how the market shares develop.
With Bing being launched and Windows7 due to go gold in October, 2009 may become the year where Microsoft found some answers to some products of two of their more serious competitors (the second one being Apple and Mac OS X) and should be able to strengthen their position in the computer universe again. The rebellion on the other hand doesn’t sleep either, and rumor has it that the misfits have prepared a new iPhone for tonight…