Microsoft's Bing search engine is now out, allowing the Internet users to decide whether Microsoft's search engine has the where-with-all to compete with Google.
The Bing engine, replaces Live Search, Among the other name changes that go along with the new search, Live Search Cashback is now Bing Cashback, while technology from Microsoft's Farecast acquisition now powers Bing Travel. Virtual Earth gets a name change ) and is now Bing Maps for Enterprise.
With Bing, Microsoft is trying to make the case that search today is still an often unsatisfying experience. That is a unique challenge for Microsoft. Although its research shows that most people repeat searches and give up without finding exactly what they are looking for, perceived satisfaction of search is actually pretty high.
To help make the case, Microsoft plans to spend huge amounts of money on advertising and marketing. Estimates in the advertising trade mags have pegged spending at $80 million to $100 million.
That's key, since very few people currently go out of their way to search using Microsoft's technology. Most Microsoft searches come via MSN, from toolbars and other methods, while just 1 or 2 percent come from people actually typing Live.com into their browser's address bar.
"Nearly 98 percent of the traffic at Live.com is passive (coming from MSN, etc.) and Bing will be an attempt by Microsoft to establish its search offering as a destination Web site with high active traffic," Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Agarwal said in a research note on Monday. "In our view, though Microsoft's search technologies are ready for prime time, making a call on the success of Bing now will be premature."
One of the things we willl be watching is how content wed designers and Internet marketing specialists react to the new ways that Microsoft pulls content into the search pages. The main results page offers the option to hover over the result for more information, while the product search site repurposes professional reviews, user reviews, and other information directly within product search results. Microsoft allows a live preview of videos from within its search results.Of course, other engines also borrow heavily from the sites they are searching. Don't forget, Google hosts its own cached versions of the pages it searches.
The issue is, of course, is whether users will choose Bing. Microsoft have generated a good amount of initial interest, as well as some positive reviews.