Bing Me Up Scotty … I’m Diggin’ It

By David Gould, President

Sorry, couldn’t resist jumping on the Bing hoopla bandwagon. Let’s face it; you can’t hide from Bing or the prolific puns that have littered the digital landscape over the past week. That said, maybe you shouldn’t hide. Bing has some pretty cool things to offer.

My colleague, Viji Davis, wrote a post in this very blog two days ago describing Bing’s performance in a number of different categories. I won’t waste your time repeating her wise musings, but I do want to talk at a higher level about what Bing is … or maybe isn’t.

Bing has been promoting itself as a decision engine, not simply a search engine. David Berkowitz points out that “the idea of a search engine is to get you where you want to go…” Bing does that, when necessary, but actually goes a step further and strives to provide you with the information you need without ever having to leave Bing.

Berkowitz argues, that makes Bing a hybrid between a portal and search engine. I’d argue that a search engine actually is a portal in the truest sense of the word. According to a portal is “a door, gate, or entrance”. Isn’t that what a search engine is, a doorway to the World Wide Web? Conversely, what many commonly think of as portals, in the context of the internet, are actually aggregators. Yahoo aggregates content so that, ideally, you’ll never leave their properties.

For that reason, I think Bing is really more of a hybrid between a portal and an aggregator. It gets you where you need to go, but only if it can’t deliver what you need itself. It’s a finely tuned aggregator that delivers content (versus links) tailored to your desire.

A perfect example of this is checking the status of a flight. If I want to know the status of United Flight #686 today, I can type it into the Bing search box and get the following at the top of the search results (in a flash I might add) …

Click to view larger image.
Bing United 686 Search Results

Pretty cool … other search engines refer me elsewhere. The same works for weather and traffic in an instant.

The implications of a search engine that actually keeps users around instead of directing them elsewhere are numerous and we can expect to read plenty on that in the near future.


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