Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bada Bing: Will Microsoft Make Search Sexy?

Bada BingImage Source

So the new Microsoft search engine is called Bing. My first thought when I heard it was of Southwest's Ding. The next thing I thought of was the popular Sopranos hangout, Bada Bing. Let's hope, for Microsoft's sake, it's the latter that pops with the general public. After all, sex sells, right?

Some interesting insights in Abbey Klaassen's AdAge column on Monday regarding the upcoming $100mm marketing campaign for Bing -- Microsoft Aims Big Guns at Google, Asks Consumers to Rethink Search.

"People with knowledge of the planned push said the ads won't go after Google, or Yahoo for that matter, by name. Instead, they'll focus on planting the idea that today's search engines don't work as well as consumers previously thought by asking them whether search (aka Google) really solves their problems. That, Microsoft is hoping, will give consumers a reason to consider switching search engines, which, of course, is one of Bing's biggest challenges."

Hmm, a search engine that solves problems?!? Brilliant! Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, my Search Insider column from 10 weeks ago -- What's the Point Of Search? I believe my exact words were, "Ultimately, isn't that what search is all about? Consumers search because they have a problem that they need a solution to."

So how will Microsoft convey its ability to solve problems in the ads? I'm guessing by cherry-picking some of the queries that best show off Bing's, er... assets (eg, Farecast integration, maps, video and image search, etc.) I suspect they'll stop short of showing satisfied searchers lighting up post-search cigarettes, though.

Update: Steve Ballmer introduced Bing publicly for the first time today at the All Things D conference. While was loading a blank page for much of the morning (FAIL!), sheds some light on the product...

"A new breed of search engine has arrived, a search engine that does more than point you to a set of links. We’ve built a 'decision engine' and it’s called Bing. Internet search has become the No. 1 avenue for finding information and getting things done. But with more than 200 million Web sites online (and counting), most search engines are ill-equipped for the task. Not Bing.

Bing provides direct access to the information you’re looking for. Bing organizes search results so you can quickly and easily locate the content that matters most. And Bing helps you harness that information through exclusive tools specific to your key tasks, leading to more-informed decisions. Put simply, Bing is a first-of-its-kind decision engine."

A decision-engine, aye? I have a hunch they're not the first to use that positioning.


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