Information overload for search overload: Bing

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Microsoft debuted ‘Manifesto‘ – their ad to announce the launch of Bing, only a couple of days ago. The follow up ads have already begun. These set of ads, collectively dubbed Syndrome, continue with the theme of ‘Search Overload’. The effect Search Overload has on people, is presented in an exaggerated fashion, with a touch of humour.

As I said earlier, the attempt to position Bing as a ‘decision engine’ and not a mere search engine has the potential to create dissonance. Or at least trial for Bing. The combined effect of paid advertising ($100mn reportedly) and internet chatter has created curiosity about Bing. Is that enough to sustain a long-term relationship and ‘default search’ status to Bing? I have my doubts.

The allusion to your ‘normal’ churning out irrelevant stuff (back pain – pack packing, back to school, Johan Sebastian Bach) is funny but not-so-true. Unless you’ve been using some weird search engine or use search poorly in Google, it is unlikely that you will get such irrelevant results. A search for Total Hip Replacement does not churn out a list of hi-hop artistes; in fact, the results are similar across Bing & Google. The losers are likely to be the smaller players like Ask. Reminded of an old story about the launch of a tomato ketchup brand called Volffam, which launched with the proposition, ‘is mein kaddu nahin zara’ (it does not contain pumpkin). The communication suggested that your current brand may have pumpkins. The shares were mainly gained from fringe brands and not from the leading brand. Similarly. while I have tried Bing, I don’t find a strong reason to switch over completely. I may have stopped using the other search engines. One of the comments at AdAge about this ad says: ‘I realize that the ad is about a problem that I did not know that I had’. While that may be a bit on the harsh side (search results can be frustrating at times), the real test will be on delivering the promise of ‘decision engine’ at the trial stage. If within the first 2-3 visits to Bing, the result’s aren’t vastly superior, one is likely to stick with Google.

While on the ads, the shorter ones work better. Take for example, Hawaii. The longer versions while trying to convey the chaos and ‘weight’ of search overload, seems like a ranting overload by itself.

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