Richi Jennings

Google scared of Microsoft Bing? Sergey Brin scrambles?

June 15, 2009 5:07 AM EDT
Is Google scared of Microsoft Bing? In IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers debate Sergey Brin's rumored reaction to new competition.

Not to mention Post-it® stop-motion awesomeness...

Sam Symons starts by summarizing the situation: [Shut up -Ed.]
Google scared of Microsoft Bing? Sergey Brin scrambles?Everybody knows about Microsoft's recent re-branding and re-engineering of Live Search, Bing, and how it has recently become available for the public to use. ... Now that everything is cleared up, the initial launch hype has died down a bit, and the rumors are gone, the question remains... how will Bing do against Google? Or, perhaps just as importantly... how do Google feel about it?
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Apparently, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is worried enough about the new competition from Microsoft that he has put together a team of top engineers, to begin making vast improvements to the web service starting immediately. Brin is the head of said team, and the project they will be working on is trying to determine how Bing's search algorithm is different from that of his own.more

Mike Ferro is magnetic:
The amount of R&D and marketing being poured into Bing by Microsoft is telling of how confident the execs at the company feel about their new search engine. ... However, it is not uncommon for a competitor to make some commotion when a new rival enters the arena.
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Regardless of whether Bing is a real threat to Google from a technical standpoint, notoriety and publicity may ultimately be more threatening than anything else. Only time will tell if Bing will become the butt of many jokes or hailed as a Google-killer.more

But Harry McCracken scoffs:
I’m not saying that the article is sheer fantasy. But the Post story’s suggestion that frenzy has descended on the Googleplex and hasty steps are being taken to stay competitive with Bing doesn’t ring true.
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I can’t imagine that the question of how Bing’s algorithm differs from Google’s is a subject of high-level speculation and research at Google. ... Bing’s algorithm doesn’t have much to do with why Bing is interesting. It’s the information and tools that the search engine provides in reaction to four types of searches–ones involving health, travel, local information, and shopping–that give it its personality.more

And Ben Parr concurs:
The Post has a knack for spin, and while Google may not be gripped by fear, we’d think it only prudent for the search leader to consider what threat, if any, Bing poses to its dominant market position. Google is not ignorant of new search competitors: in fact, one of its most recent products, Google Squared, is in part a response to the computational capabilities of Wolfram Alpha.

The bottom line: we’d be more concerned if Google was not paying attention to new competitors.more

But Bonnie Bing blasts the backstabbers: [Blimey -Ed.]
I wish I could have been in the Microsoft meeting where they decided Bing would be a great name for the new and improved search engine. ... No one called and asked me, my relatives, Dave Bing or Chandler Bing, if it was OK to use our name. The nerve!
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I Binged "Bonnie Bing" and got 1,250,000 results. Google gave me 878,000 results. Of course, all those results aren't just references to me. There are other Bonnie Bings in the world, but boy, it was a trip down memory lane reading the stuff that did pertain to me.
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I think it will work. Bing is easily turned into a verb, just like Xerox has become. It's just as easy to say "Bing it" as "Google it."more

Microsoft's Bob Caswell agrees:
I know what you’re thinking: I work for Microsoft, so of course I’m going to use Bing! The truth is, though, that I’ve been using Google as my default search engine up until Bing was released two weeks ago. ... [But] I think Microsoft nailed it with the “vertical” search decision concept. You see, Bing is optimized for four types of searches decisions: shopping, travel, health, and local.
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Does this mean I’ll never use Google again? Of course not. The thing about search is that switching costs are very low. If Bing doesn’t give me what I want quickly, there’s a good chance I’ll give Google a try (just like I used to use other search engines other than Google when Google didn’t give me what I wanted quickly enough). But now that Bing shines with two thirds of my searches decisions, it’s earned the right to be my default.more

So what's your decision?
Get involved: leave a comment.



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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email.