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Meet Bing : Microsoft's Search Engine Answer To Google & Yahoo

Steve Ballmer has finally taken the wraps off Bing, Microsoft's latest (last?) attempt to topple Google and Yahoo off their search engine pedestals, at the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital Conference.

The search engine at currently shows a "bing and decide" tagline with "Coming soon" underneath. Clicking on the "Find out more" link bring the user to a decisionengine website where a video (powered by Adobe Flash) explores the possibilities offered by Bing.

Interestingly, the website allows user to follow Bing on Twitter and on Facebook and share the page through many other media; this shows to some extent that Microsoft is ready to use competing channels to get the message across.

So it looks that Microsoft will be focusing on labelling Bing as a "decision engine" rather than a mere search engine like Google or Yahoo. Bing will target four key areas at the beginning, including planning journeys, finding local businesses, making purchasing decisions and probing a health condition.

Ashley Highfield, the managing director of consumer and online for Microsoft in the UK (and incidentally the former Director of the Future Media and Technology group at the BBC), said in a statement that "Having a single dominant player in any market is a huge opportunity. Agencies and clients are crying out for a rival to Google."

The problem though will be to lure a critical mass of internet users into using Bing in the same place. Bing, as it stands now, looks to be more like a portal rather than a simple search engine and because it should be able to answer more complex questions, this puts it squarely in the same league as Wolframalpha.

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Our Comments

As we mentioned several times before, this is almost certainly the last time Microsoft will attempt to take on Google on its own. If Bing fails within the next 12 months to capture more marketshare from Google, Microsoft's last chance would be to grab Yahoo.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.