Microsoft’s first serious attempt at a Google-beater went live on Friday for US users and is now available in beta form for UK searchers.
The big friendly search page is very “Web 2.0”, its all big simple fonts and whitewash villas, no actually, there’s a picture of whitewashed villas, which will make you want to search for whitewashed villas, but don’t get distracted, you’ve got searching to do.
Bing is a new-breed of search engine, it want to give you answers, all by itself. The UK version is, as yet, without the much hyped “Local” search option, which Microsoft have been hyping in the run-up to the launch. A team of 60 web-bods are working full-time to bring Bing’s Local option to UK users as soon as possible.
The search results look dismally like Live Search’s but, unlike Live Search the side bar with related searches works smoothly and offers an array of pertinent links to potentially related subjects, which is nice.
So say you search; Nikon D300, you get; Nikon D300 review, Nikon D300 sales, Nikon D300 to buy, in your related searches, all of which is very helpful.
The image search is better than Google’s, it offers filters which allow you to hone your search precisely.
The video and shopping searches also equally hold their own. But in terms of Search, because after all Bing is primarily a search engine, Bing still falls short of Google’s unerring and uncanny knack of finding just what you’re looking for.
But beating Google is maybe setting Microsoft’s sites a bit high. Live Search had about 8.5% of the global search market, behind Yahoo on 18% and Google on 69%. So leapfrogging Yahoo might be the first step for Microsoft, but right now, will I be deserting Google for Bing? No.
Google’s new Search will go live worldwide on the 3rd of June. Named after the popular sitcom character Chandler (it’s not really), Bing is Microsoft’s first real pop at a Google beater.
And first impressions are…not bad, which for Microsoft is a massive victory.
It’s being praised for its comprehensive and user-friendly travel and shopping searches, although general searches and Microsoft’s big hope, local search have left something to be desired.
Although the UI seems clean and simple some of the better features have been secreted under drop-downs and tabs.
Bing will get a “soft launch” in the UK in BETA form, before a 60 strong team go to work making it’s results more UK relevant.
Ashley Higfield, a key player behind the success of the iPlayer, and now Microsoft’s UK Consumer Vice President, said: “There is a huge opportunity in the search market.”
“Given that it’s dominated by one player, and given that research shows a high level of dissatisfaction among a high level of the user base. We know that only around a quarter of people get what they are looking for on the first search.”
Bing is being by some more as an “information portal” than a straight-up search engine. It provides options and answers as opposed to referrals.
But it looks to be a good start – some tweaking and Microsoft might well be onto something.