I have not really posted on Bing, etc. There have been so many false dawns with Microsoft on the search front that I thought I would wait to see if this was just another re-brand with no substance.
More to come on this, but my three thoughts are:
1. Bing is actually quite a decent search engine (shock!) and if they build on this solid base Microsoft will eventually have something (in some way) to rival Google. Apart from the fact that (more shock!) Bing is more than just a re-brand and Microsoft have actually got something right, this thought is based upon the law of diminishing returns (Google can’t make as many leaps and bounds in the search side of the business as Microsoft can at this point in time). Therefore if MS continue on this track they will eventually make enough ground to be a serious contender. Whether anyone (or enough to make it interesting) will use their engine is another matter (see item 2… they just have).
2. Today’s Yahoo and Microsoft announced that they will pair up on the natural search front gives them enough joint searchers to make this a distant but worthwhile contender to Google’s strength. UK wise they still have to make a lot of ground even jointly, but worldwide their combined power is now significant. Like item 1 they now need to build on this to make the alliance a good and seamless one, that way they can develop the offering and seriously market to entice users to switch them from Google.
3. A really little point this, but try http://pagehunt.msrlivelabs.com/PlayPageHunt.aspx. This is the first time I have found something from Microsoft on the search front that overtly tries to go the extra mile. As said it is a small thing (and the current version of this test, isn’t wonderful), but it does show a sign that they have got some people who will try to push things along. If they engender this spirit then the momentum may just mean that they get a group of people who want and believe they can upset the big guys (I know it sounds strange saying that about Microsoft, but in this instance it is very true). Mind-set wise this is absolutely crucial and a really difficult one for Microsoft (bearing in mind how arrogant they can be).
So there you go. I will now start to take a bit more interest in Microsoft/Yahoo from a natural search side (PPC wise I always did). Who knows maybe this time next year we will have a slightly different story on our hands. A long way to go though, but a least this time they have made a real start.
P.S. to celebrate this I have now added a ‘Bing’ category, who would have thought it!