Jan 102011

Bing: The Decision Engine

I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but after watching the latest Bing TV commercial riffing on "Salsa", I just don't get it.

Bing Decision Engine on YouTube

We're told to contrast the "Search Overload" -- code name: Google -- with Bing's Decision Engine. At the end of the commercial you see them typing "Salsa" into Bing's search box -- should I say "decision box"? -- but, perhaps revealingly, they don't hit enter.

I think I know why. This is what a "Decision Engine" looks like:

Contrast this with "Search Overload":

See the difference? Anybody? Anybody? .... Buehler?

I really like the folks at Bing. Incredibly sharp people, really interested in raising the bar. They have a very good product and it continues to improve.

I really don't get their marketing folks. They hope users will try Bing on the false premise that it provides something fundamentally different than Google. It doesn't.

To my thinking a "decision engine" would provide an easy "app" for drilling down to what I really want. In this case that might mean a choice between the dance, the music, the food, or something else. Figuring out the right follow up options dynamically would be tricky, but with all the brain power available to them, I bet they can do it.

But that isn't what's happening. What's happening is they're trying to get you to the final destination on the next click...just like Google.

Why not attack this more candidly in commercials: "Our results are better than Google's." Perhaps that might generate a longer trial period from loyal Google users who might be interested in a thorough comparison. The "bait and switch" that they're currently running is just annoying, imho.


6 Responses to "Bing: The Decision Engine"
@mediasres says:
Finally, someone says the obvious! Please. This Emperor has no clothes. It feels like some focus groups told Bing marketing that there was a fundamental complaint about Google or Yahoo, and they made it a fundamental marketing (and perhaps aesthetic theme). But perhaps it is nothing more than that Bing, being so far behind the 8-ball decided that it would be productive if all its alternative users had in their mind "THIS is a DECISION engine" every time they use it. In other words, the is no big UI difference, instead there is a marketing difference which changes the user action threshold: "I've got to decide, I can't just surf mindlessly, I'm on a decision engine after all!" And perhaps, even more subtly, it is meant for the psychology of potential advertisers. If you had to convince higher ups why some of the budget now is going towards Bing, sure it would help if there were hard numbers as to why, but it also helps that everyone in a company knows that dollars are now being spent on the Decision Engine, they place where people go to decide on things they want to buy.
Adam Audette says:
Could not agree more with you, George. The marketing message is completely off here, and I'm not even sure a "decision engine" is what people want, anyway. It's too ambiguous and sort of passive aggressive. The marketing message should attack Google straight on. That would get a lot of attention (but probably mostly negative if their results don't walk the talk!).
The decision engine looks better than the search overload, at least in my own opinion. I think it will depend on the individual's choosing. It's a close contest.
Thanks for your comments, folks. It is interesting that "Dex" is taking a similar tack against Google: with Google represented by the guy in a suit acting like a know-it-all hung up on correcting your language, while Dex knows what you really want. I like Dex's approach better, because they make a credible case that Dex provides better local results than G. Bing pretends that they offer something fundamentally different, and they just don't.


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