By Harry McCracken | Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 1:24 pm
I feel like I have around five percent of my brain cells back to devote to other, more productive purposes. After way too many months of way too much speculation, it’s official: Microsoft’s new search engine will be known as Bing. Steve Ballmer unveiled it this morning at the Wall Street Journal’s D conference, and on next Wednesday it replaces Live Search.
Don’t expect Microsoft to position Bing as a Google killer, even though others will presumably (most likely pejoratively, as usal) use that phrase as they size it up. Do expect the company to call it a decision engine–a phrase that Bing team member Stefan Weitz used when I spoke with him this morning. (There’s even a Bing video demo up at DecisionEngine.com.) Rather than provide Google-like results in a Google-like format, Microsoft has has focused on providing customized results for four common action-oriented search tasks: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition and finding a local business. It aims to provide information and tools to satisfy those goals right within Bing, eliminating the need to search elsewhere and providing a clear differentiation from Google and other search engines.
I’ll report back on Bing when I’ve had a chance to try it out. Meanwhile, here’s a review by Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling (he likes it quite a bit) and one by TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld (who I think may have forgotten that Live Search in its current form already has the fancy photographic backdrop).