Thursday, June 4

Do You Need a Bing Today?

TechCrunch provides a Google Trends analysis of the recent search engine launches for Wolfram Alpha and Microsoft's Bing. Wolfram Alpha is fairly unknown outside the ubergeek circles. Bing will soon be unavoidable due to their massive brand campaign that just launched.



I saw my first Bing TV commercial last night. Primarily a manifesto video, it at least prompted my wife to ask "What is that about?"

Me: "It's Microsoft's new search engine."

Wife: "Why?"

Me: "Um, I dunno."

Wife: "What was wrong with their old one?"

Me: "Um, not many people were using it."

Wife: "Why not?"

Me: "Um, I dunno. Google?"

Wife: "That's dumb."
My wife assumes that somehow I am partly responsible for everything that occurs online: page takeover ads, Twitter, broken shopping carts, the sudden speed dip in our home's broadband connection.

This often puts me in the position of explaining (and defending) many things that I actually don't really understand myself. But I -- like any good marketer -- make it sound rationale. My wife -- like any good consumer -- calls bullshit on most of it.

So why does Microsoft need a new search engine? There's lots of opinions out there: rejuvenate their online advertising revenue, defend their technology street cred, rub just one more thing in Yahoo's face before buying them.

Whatever the case, my wife posed the obvious question: Do we really need another search engine?

I just completed 3 days of consumer focus groups, asking the average Internet user to visit a variety of brand websites. Literally 90% of the consumers started their online tasks at Google. Even when we gave them a brand name with a very-easy-to-guess URL. Even if they thought they knew the URL. A few even typed "brandname.com" into Google.

The other 2 people had to start at their My Yahoo page. Otherwise they were clueless about beginning their online tasks.

Which clarifies an important point: It isn't necessarily about needing another search engine. It's about needing another starting point. If you don't start at Google or My Yahoo, then you are probably launching Facebook and jumping from there. 90% of the interviews listed that as their favorite website.

Which is your starting spot: Search Engine, Content Aggregator, or Social Network?

Is there really room for one more? Especially one that duplicates the offerings of these top 3 home bases?

The only time Bing came up was when the interviewee started their search with the browser toolbar. IE redirected them to Bing.com search results, which resulted in the same conversation every time:

Consumer: "What is that?"

Moderator: "It's Microsoft's new search engine."

Consumer: "Why?"

Moderator: "Um, I dunno."

Consumer: "Can I go to Google?"

1 comment:

Aaran Macsneps said...

So yes, Google still reigns supreme, although others will certainly challenge and search engines to come, as Bing. However, instead of thinking about it better than Google or try to compare Bing Bing vs Google vs Yahoo.

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