Friday, 24 July 2009

Banging on about Bing...

I know, I know, I've talked about search and Bing a LOT recently but it's important. Competition in the market is healthy.

I have a Gmail account, I use the Google reader for RSS feeds, this blog is written on a Google owned platform, I upload to YouTube (owned by Google), and I am enormously excited about the scope and potential of the Google Wave (a new communication and collaboration platform/approach coming soon) so I'm far from entirely disloyal. But it's important to share my love too.

I am enjoying playing with Bing not just for the way it processes queries and displays results, but for the small moment of happiness I get from the stunning pictures they have on the homepage everyday. Yesterday it was Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the day before a stunning image of a turtle which made me think about a great holiday in the Whitsunday's last year. I engage with it. I play guessing games with myself as a result of the image I see. And clearly I am not alone and Bing have twigged that too as in the last week they've taken to adding clues under the image.

This morning I logged in and spent a few moments trying to work out where I recognised that skyline from. After a quick memory scan, and even before I looked at the clues, I realised it was the Yarra river and Melbourne, a city I love but haven't been back to for a few years now. But the fact that I go back to see the picture every day and I've been telling lots of my colleagues to do the same too, suggests they've got something right.

In an earlier post I talked about how smart it was for Bing to have launched a homepage photocontest via Facebook. I logged into Facebook this morning to find a status feed item reminding me that voting for the photocompetition closes on August 3rd, and encouraging me to go a vote (which I duly did). I'd encourage you to do the same. Why not? It's easy to do and easy on the eye. Well done, Bing, I think you are doing a good job. You are demonstrating that you are understanding your consumer and what is motivating (some) of them to use your decision making engine, and, how social media spaces can work hard for you: you don't have to drag people out of an environment that they are in anyway to make them consider and engage with your brand.
It will take a long time to shift people's behaviour from using Google as default, as there's many more of us using search than the was when the big shift from Yahoo search to Google happened in the late 1990's, but I feel compelled to encourage people to explore the search options available too us. There's more to search than the big G.

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