Web search is a hot subject, right now Google sits atop the mountain, but can Google weather the storm? Clearly there are other companies that would like a piece of this lucrative business. The money of course is not in offering free search, but in the revenue generated from advertising.

Microsoft has long been king of the hill in the Operating System world, oh, not for serious stuff, I can not name a single computer on the Top 500 list of  super computers that runs Windows. But MS has very much become the owner of the personal desktop.

The really big battle on the internet is search. Who can find what people are looking for?

Google rules the roost. More than 70% of all searches go through Google. Everyone else is just ‘another run horse’.

There was a good deal of interest when Wolfram Alfa started their press campaign. Indeed I for one was keen to look at it. Yes, it is clever, but is it useful? Typing in a complex math question I received a very good answer, better than I would have got from Google. Typing in the name of the town that I live in revealed all sorts of great stuff, the last census count, the fact that the sun was shining and the outside temperature was 78. This of course is all useful information, but not what the savvy user wants. I can look out of the window and see that the sun is shining, I can step outside and figure out the temperature is nice.

Microsoft has lagged in the search game since the search game started. Microsoft lagged in the browser game as well. Netscape ruled the roost for several years. Of course our friends in Redmond refused to give in, and by throwing Dollars at the problem, and bundling in Internet Explorer into Windows they drove Netscape into the ‘also ran’ category.

They have not had quite so much luck with the world of search, Google owns it. Microsoft has reinvented their search strategy twice already, MSN Search morphed into Search Live, and essentially the user community just gave a huge yawn. No one cared.

I use a very unscientific approach to checking search engines. I have about half a dozen fairly obscure search terms that I look for. If I don’t get the desired results I just move on to the next search engine!

Our friends in Redmond have re-branded their search engine, this week it is called Bing. Bing as in the sound of discovering something. Bing as in the light going on. Or is it BING as in ‘But It’s Not Google’?

I personally doubt that Bing will make more of a dent into the search world as the other versions that Microsoft have come up with.

Instead of plowing millions (and not just a few) into search, maybe they could price their products at a level that people can afford?

I say Bing is a bust!

Bing will be re-branded within a couple of months, no doubt the will refer to this version as Bing 4.0, Bing-ME. or Bing-Vista. Bing is out!

Simon Barrett

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