Bing Search Engine Initial Review
The new Bing Search Engine (Decision Engine?) launched tonight in “preview” mode, and I’ve done an initial test to see how well it does at general search, since that’s the focus of my primary business. While Microsoft’s saying it’s not going to supplant Google in the search market, we can expect that since they’re pouring $100 million into an advertising blitz, that most people already assume it’s a search engine. And so far, I’ve already found something that should cause Google to sit up and pay attention…
Rather than trying to cover everything, I’ll focus specifically on one feature, the bing “Quick Preview” and the text that shows up for search results themselves. I’ll leave the rest of the reviewing to other bloggers or to a future article of my own.
BING SEARCH RESULTS – PAGE TITLE PROBLEM?
When I first did a search to see what pages come up for my name, I got mostly valid, current results. But what struck me as odd was that the results weren’t displaying the page title for the first couple entries.
Note how the first two results just say “Alan Bleiweiss”? Well the page title for my blog is really “Search Marketing Answers”… and for my company site, the home page title tag starts out with “Hey Dude Wheres My Site | Search Engine Optimization”…
I follow proper HTML syntax in my page titles, and most page titles show up properly for most of the results. But some of the other searches I did got similar results for sites I don’t own. And for all of these, Google seems to have the proper page title displayed. So what’s going on with Microsoft’s system?
BING QUICK PREVIEW FEATURE
When I first started playing with the results page, I discovered almost right away that when you roll your mouse over most search results, you see a thin line off to the right of that entry, with an orange dot in the middle of it.
As I rolled my mouse over that orange dot, a slick preview window opened up to reveal content directly from the site linked to off to the left.
While the initial text that’s shown for my pages is coming directly from the META Description tag, the info that shows up in the preview window is coming directly from the page’s content.
Now here’s where I think Google needs to sit up and pay attention. For the first time in quite a while, I really think that Microsoft is actually delivering on a promise. In this case, it’s the promise they’re making that bing isn’t a search engine, but instead, it’s a “decision engine”.
For those sites that they can do this with (not all sites allow replication of content), it’s going to help a lot of people make a more qualified decision on whether to click through to a site than they can now do at Google. By providing the Meta Description AND the initial content that is actually on the page linked, Microsoft is giving us more information to process.
I like this feature a lot. And quite frankly, it was a very pleasant surprise to see.
PAGE LINKS – NOT JUST FOR THE ELITE
I also found that for several entries in the results page, bing is also showing site links within that preview pane. These aren’t just showing up for the top results either. I found the same thing on results that were on the 2nd page as well. They’re not showing for every entry, but this too goes beyond what Google is presently offering to their visitors. Yet one more feature that may help Microsoft gain market share…
MICROSOFT IS LISTENING – SORT OF
When I tweeted my revelation tonight, I got a quick “thank you” response from “Betsy”, who was, at least at that moment, monitoring the @bing Twitter account.
While that too was a pleasant surprise, it was no surprise that Betsy ignored my first three tweets preceding my compliment. And my tweets earlier today questioning bing’s potential for blurring the advertising and pure organic results also went unanswered. Yet it’s nice to see that they’re eager to return the favor when the post is in their favor.
THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION
Well, in any case, we’re ultimately going to have to wait and see how this all unfolds. Whether the site “Quick Preview” feature will be enough, or how the whole user experience goes is anybody’s guess at this early stage. Yet I seriously believe that the potential does exist in Microsoft gaining market share, now that I’ve tasted the preview feature…
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______________________________________________________________________________About Alan Bleiweiss
Alan Bleiweiss, Sr. Consultant at Hey Dude, Where’s My Site, is a Search Marketing Professional with 14 years experience in web consulting. From his earliest days managing the first generation web sites for companies such as Princess Cruises, Weight Watchers International, Starkist Tuna, Fortunoffs, Mechanics Bank and Publishers ClearingHouse, Alan has been a visionary when it comes to the power that exists for the Internet to help transform how people communicate in a B to B and B to C model. His radically pro-individual stance has consistently helped to balance that awareness with strong leanings toward net neutrality and the need for the Internet to be nurtured as a resource for all. If you found this article interesting, be sure to Subscribe by RSS or scroll up and sign up to receive updates by email. And be sure to follow Alan on Twitter, where you’re sure to gain insights and more than a few laughs…