Here it is: Bing, Microsoft's "decision engine"

Microsoft's been telling us how new and exciting the new Live Search, aka Kumo, aka Bing will be. Seems like we've been waiting ages to catch more than just a glimpse.

In today's IT Blogwatch, bloggers watch the long-awaited Ballmer demo, and tell us what they think. Not to mention the cutout of delight...

Julie Bort decided on this summary:

Steve Ballmer demonstrated Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, today. ... Bing offers several new features intended to help people perform faster, better searches with less poking around.
  • A set of navigation and search tools called an Explore Pane which includes a feature called Web Groups. ...
  • Related Searches and Quick Tabs features that provide a sort of table of contents. ...
  • Quick Preview offers a preview of search results during a mouseover so people can decide if they want to ... click on a link.

Erick Schonfeld adds:

Today, Microsoft publicly unveiled its soon-to-launch search engine Bing. It will become available over the next few days, and be fully launched by June 3. On the surface, Bing has a distinct gloss. The home page features a rotation of stunning photography, for instance, which can be clicked on to produce related image search results. But the most significant changes are under the covers.
Information overload is becoming a real problem ... Bing tries to alleviate the problem by offering up different experiences depending on the search. It also acts more like a destination site for certain searches. Travel and product searches bring in comparison pricing, reviews, images, and more. Hulu videos can be played within the video search results. Bing pulls in data from other Web services when it can so that you often don’t have to leave to get the information you want..

But Gavin Clarke brings on the snark:

Microsoft can't let the simple utility or innovation in its software speak for itself ... With its supposed search-engine challenger to Google, Microsoft is once again trying to make us lose touch with reality ... by adopting that old trick of redefining the market and thereby defining the competition out of that market. Bing is, therefore, not a search engine, it's a "decision engine".
What we're looking at is another Microsoft product that's taken ideas from different product groups and teams working on features, and ladled them into one to bombard the average user with features that are well beyond the scope of how people actually use search.
I can't wait - really, I can't. I must stay up all night just to be the first to Bing myself.

Microsoft's Don Dodge toes the line:

It is designed to help make better decisions in four key areas; making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition, or finding a local business.
Last week I wrote about some of the Microsoft search improvements of the last 6 to 12 months and found it to be as good as Google, and in some cases better. With the launch of Bing next week I think the public will take another look at Microsoft’s search technology and come away impressed.

Greg Sterling answers the #1 FAQ:

No, Bing is not a “Google Killer.” It’s also safe to say that Microsoft doesn’t see it that way either. My understanding of what Microsoft believes it has in Bing is a much more competitive product than Live Search. I entirely agree.
Microsoft has told me that the company sees Bing as a start (or restart) and that improvements will continue to roll out over time. One can be skeptical of that position or not. Regardless, Bing is a big advancement for Microsoft. ... There are range of features that I like quite a bit; among them the “table of contents” that often appears in the upper left column ... and the easily accessible search history, which will likely be further developed in interesting ways.

Josh Bernoff wonders what it would take to overthrow Google:

We all used to use Yahoo or AltaVista until we switched to Google. We stayed with Google because it was better.
For this to make the slightest dent, here's what has to happen. First, the search has to be better. Second, the search has to be qualitatively different. Not just better search, but "holy cow this is different." Like it was when you first tried an iPhone, or first saw TiVo. ... Third, it has to integrate with everything else, better than Google does.

So what's your take? Get involved and leave a comment.

And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

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: contact Richi.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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