In an attempt to reclaim some of the ground that it has lost to Google, Microsoft unveiled Bing, a new Internet search engine, last week.
Bing replaces Microsoft’s Live Search product, which has failed to dent Google’s huge lead in search market share. Bing, described as a “decision engine”, is designed to understand what users are searching for on the Internet and display more than just the traditional “10 blue links” pointing to websites.
Microsoft has been stuck in third place behind Google and Yahoo!; its share of US search queries was 8.2% in April, according to the research group comScore. Google was used for 64.2% of queries, and Yahoo! for 20.4%.
Microsoft recorded a loss in its online advertising business for the first quarter of this year.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, told a conference in California: “ When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the web.”
Bing promises to make things like buying a digital camera, booking a flight or searching for a restaurant easier by serving up results based on similar previous searches.
The new service will be available this week in the US with a launch of a UK version of the engine at the same time. The service will be available at bing.com.
Microsoft is reported to be spending as much as 100-million on advertising the new service. Ballmer said Microsoft had called its search engine Bing because it wanted something short and catchy.
The term “to Google” quickly became synonymous with performing a search on the Internet after the company launched the ground-breaking service a decade ago. Ballmer said of “Bing”: “The name is short, it’s easy to say, it works globally. It’s been proved that being able to ‘verb up’ can be helpful.”
Andy Mihalop of the i-level online media agency, said: “It’s going to be very difficult for them to break the Google habit.
“Microsoft is going to have to invest a huge amount in advertising to get people away from Google.
“Also, as far as advertising goes, our clients are still predominantly looking at market share. So for most advertisers, Google will remain first choice, though I would like to see a successful challenger emerge.” — © The Times, London