A few weeks ago we asked "is Google is becoming a Monopoly?". Microsoft is launching a new plan to tackle them head on….
Microsoft has today revealed access to its new revamped search engine now entitled ‘Bing’ (www.bing.com). The full worldwide launch is expected by 3rd June, following much build up via a codename Kumo and £100 million advertising campaign. Is this the next stage in the war against Google?
The new search engine is a significant upgrade to the current Live Search, and is set to compete with the fast evolving semantic engines such as Wolfram Alpha. The aim is to reduce the reliance on users to refine their searches by offering category results in a left hand navigation menu. For example, if you do a search for Nikon D70, you will also see categorized results inthe left hand navigation for shopping, accessories and videos. Each category is based on what the user intent may be.
The left hand navigation also provides subcategories such as ‘Related Searches’ and ‘Search History’ to again assist the user navigation, reducing redundant searches. Initial tests show that Bing is focused on providing answers for the user and not necessarily websites. This may not stack up against the intuitiveness of Google. Type an address into the search bar and Bing shows a website, do the same in Google and you get a map. It’s easy to see which the user would prefer.
Another side to Bing is to promote Microsoft’s other services. Clicking through the left hand navigation to the shopping results seems to direct you mainly to existing services such as the cash back programme. Again this may be more Microsoft’s desire to direct the user rather than actually understanding the individual and providing the "best result".
In terms of the effect on Clients, only time will tell. If 50% of searches are currently repeat searches, as widely believed, then with an improved search result solution the volume of total searches should decline; if the user finds their goal faster, they have no need to continue refining their search terms. However we will soon see whether the new upgrade to Live Search will in any way compete with the likes of Google. So far this is looking unlikely, but if the user journey really is that good, we may start to see a shift in the search engine of choice. Watch this space.
More screen shots can be seen on www.pcmag.com.