Microsoft launched its new search engine, Bing, a few days earlier than expected. The search engine is designed to give users a more granular experience, allowing them to not only hunt for general information, but also conduct specialized searches for travel and shopping. Microsoft hopes that Bing will allow it to claim more market share in the competitive search-engine arena, which is dominated by Google.
decided to launch its new search engine, Bing
, a full two days earlier than
Originally intended to roll out worldwide on June 3, the
engine was available to users by June 1. In addition to providing a
hyperlinks in response to a query, typical of traditional search, Bing
allows users to click on tabs for "Images," "Videos," "Shopping,"
"News," "Maps," and "Travel" for a more granular search in those
Bing's "Travel" tab bears a marked resemblance to Orbitz or
other travel-site dashboards, allowing users to input their prospective flight
details in order to see routes and deals.
Microsoft originally announced the release of its new search
engine, Bing, at the seventh annual D: All Things Digital conference in
California on May 28. At that event, Microsoft attempted to highlight how its
plans for Bing went beyond traditional search, aiming to provide "intuitive
tools to help customers make better decisions" and "focusing initially on four
key vertical areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a
health condition or finding a local business."
In addition, Bing incorporates a few dynamic elements into
search, such as thumbnail video in the "News" and results pages that play
whenever the user's cursor drifts over them, in
a manner reminiscent of Yahoo's own search additions.
But during the D: All Things Digital conference in California
last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also attempted to downplay search's
importance to his company's overall strategy, saying that he spent "more of my
time on talent."
Bing's name, Ballmer added, did not come from him. "I'm not
the creative guy, here ...short mattered ... people like to 'verb up' ... works
globally, doesn't have negative connotations."
Bing could be Microsoft's major hope to increase its search
market-share and related financials.
"Today most advertisers buy search ads just with Google and
Yahoo because Microsoft has a measly...share of searches - not enough reach to
make buying search ads with MS worth the trouble," Shar Von Boskirk, an analyst
with Forrester, wrote in a May 28 posting on the Forrester Blog for Interactive
Marketing Professionals. "Forrester expects Bing to change that."
Even though Google claimed 64.2 percent of the U.S. core
search-engine market in April 2009, according to a ComScore report, Microsoft
has been aggressively battling in the space. At the moment, the company comes in
third with 8.2 percent of the market, behind Yahoo
with 20.4 percent.
Although some bad blood erupted between Yahoo and Microsoft
in 2008 over the latter's attempted $47.5 billion hostile buyout, recent reports
suggest that Ballmer and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz have talked about a partnership.
At the D: All Things Digital Conference, Bartz said that she would sell Microsoft her company's search infrastructure for "boatloads" of money.