June 15th, 2009 Ethan Stemm
Last month Beth posted a blog discussing the new search tool named Wolfram Alpha. While the book is still out on this new search technology, an old player in a new guise has come upon the scene and likes to be called Bing.
Bing is Microsoft’s new search tool (replacing Live Search), and in an attempt to distinguish itself from Google and Yahoo, it is being touted not as a new Search Engine but rather a Decision Engine. What exactly is a decision engine? I’m not sure, but I found some clues in this article. Apparently, this Decision Engine is going to provide three main elements:
- Quality search results
- Organized search experiences
- Simplified tasks and insight
Keeping these newly discovered points in mind, I took another look at Bing and came to this conclusion:
Bing operates just like any other search engine but with a nice photo in the background.
I suppose the real test of a search engine (or decision engine) would take place late Friday afternoon just moments before the end of the day when we suddenly remember needing to find the address of where we are meeting our significant other(s) after work. We begin searching for this information attempting to not be distracted about missing the bus but still remembering to turn on the office alarm while trying to remember our banking password so we can check if we even have the dough to go out for dinner. In this all-too-real scenario, the search engine is an integral part of the process and if it works correctly, we’ll hardly even notice it. But if it fails, and we end up across town at the wrong restaurant with no money, we’ll notice and remember which search tool to blame.
Since I am not going to complete the test outlined above (I don’t ride the bus), please accept the following observations:
- Bing has a good a look to it and seems to provide good results.
- Once past the paid rankings, Google usually leads us to where we want to go.
- Yahoo is that old “portal” friend providing news and email with its search returns.
The truth of search on the internet is that the technology has not really changed much over the past decade. Yes there have been improvements with the control of spam, search results do provide more localized information and everything is faster, but can we say a current search return is far superior to those we got years ago? I’m not sure we can, and so I say it is time for search to improve in a big way. Perhaps the increasing reliance upon search returns acquired from Twitter, Facebook or a blog will result in some new search paradigms. Maybe a new technology is being developed right now and within a year’s time we’ll be more satisfied with our search returns. Or maybe we have reached the apex of search and right now is as good as it gets. In any case, give Bing a look and let us know what you think.