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Friday, May 29, 2009

The "Bing" outing

Ok. Microsoft is out with its own search engine, oops, they call it a decision engine – Bing.

There will be inevitable exploration of the meaning of the moniker. (Bing has a certain ring to it. It's much better, of course, than the boring "Live Search.") Plus there is the bigger question of whether Bing will make a dent in Google's dominance. But search for clues to another issue Bing brings up: Will it end the Microsoft-Yahoo search flirtation?

Anyways, Bing seems like it would be more useful than a Google or Yahoo search. If you're searching for something you'd like to buy, for example, Bing theoretically will serve up reviews, as well as places to buy the item and related accessories, laid out in a prettier and more organized way than just a simple vertical list of links. On a whole, a big positive for Microsoft: The depth of the searches seems to offer more opportunities for ad revenue.

Of course, people think simple is best, which is part of why Google's so successful. Early impressions suggest Bing will lure some people who want to achieve a specific goal when doing a search, but that users' trust in Google to bring them the most relevant results in the most basic of manners won't wane. The trick will be to get people to think of Bing, too, when they think they might want an enhanced search. Microsoft will be spending a lot of money on the Bing branding campaign, take CEO Steve Ballmer’s word.

So this brings us to what this means for the long-running Microsoft-Yahoo partnership possibility. Is it still going to happen? After all, would Microsoft invest so heavily in Bing if it really thought a deal with Yahoo was imminent?

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