Microsoft’s sheer lack of taste is almost constantly surprising, but with Bing I wish they’d just sort themselves out and come up with a decent alternative to Google. Which leads into problem / challenge one.
Unless they steal, Bing’s search results will never be exactly the same as Google’s. And for many that will just mean straight off that Bing’s results are worse. Who wants to un-learn how they search? Google became a verb for a reason.
So, while the “decision engine” language that surrounded Bing’s first launch was a bit of a flop – ‘Bing and decide’ feels so cumbersome, like ‘boot up and Start’ – the idea of putting a bit of intentional distance between Google and Bing isn’t a bad one at all.
Self-identifying recommendation engines and serendipity engines (shudder) will never catch on in the public imagination. Amazon is in the best place to break through with a universal recommendation engine. It’s the only big system where universal wish lists don’t feel creepy. (Facebook missed a trick there, and especially Yahoo had they only been able to service Delicious well and acquire Hunch in their 2.0 blooming phase.)
So what kind of engine should Bing market itself as? For me there’s no doubt about it. Translation. Go hard and go fast on translation. Build an app for every platform. Carpet bomb on marketing. Try to make it so that ‘Bing’ is a command at the end of a phrase – like ‘return’. Experiment with how that feels – Bing constantly listening, analysing, parsing, ready to execute at the drop of a hat. Like the ping when you change lines on a typewriter.
People like to be able to dominate the technology they use. For all Sergey’s bizarre chat about mobile phones having ‘emasculating’ touch screens, Google’s voice interfaces have replaced the command with a servile request: ‘OK, Google’. Start with OK? It sounds so resigned. So lower-status. Best would be not having to use a trigger word. Second best, have it at the end and work towards eradicating its need by getting shit-hot cadence analysis.
Bing needs to become synonymous with being translated. Or better, being understood. “Blah, blah, blah, capiche?”
You bing, right? We cool.