It’s official: I now use Bing instead of Google

bingI know what you’re thinking: I work for Microsoft, so of course I’m going to use Bing! The truth is, though, that I’ve been using Google as my default search engine up until Bing was released two weeks ago. Previously, I just didn’t find any compelling reason to use Microsoft’s search engine(s). I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t change habits just because he works for a company. Rather, I need to want to change a habit, if that makes sense.

That said, I’ll give most anything (specific to technology) a try at least once. So I thought I’d give Microsoft’s latest response to Google search another try for a couple weeks. This time: I’m sticking. The difference? I think Microsoft nailed it with the “vertical” search decision concept. You see, Bing is optimized for four types of searches decisions: shopping, travel, health, and local.

What I didn’t realize until now is that those four categories cover around two thirds of all my search decision queries (that’s an approximation for myself, I’m guessing the Bing team has a more accurate aggregate number that explains query breakdown). And now Bing displays those kinds of results very effectively. Here are a couple examples from my past week of searching deciding:

  1. I was interested in Indian food, so I searched for “Indian Food 98004” and right away got a listing of all the Indian restaurants in my area. If I click through on one, I get a landing page that aggregates reviews, shows a “scorecard”, provides 1-click directions, and shows photos and pricing information.
  2. I was looking for a particular flight, so I keyed in “Seattle to Austin” and right at the top of the list of results was the best price along with a prediction of if it’s going to rise or fall. If I click through, I get a landing page with all sorts of relevant information for booking travel.

Does this mean I’ll never use Google again? Of course not. The thing about search is that switching costs are very low. If Bing doesn’t give me what I want quickly, there’s a good chance I’ll give Google a try (just like I used to use other search engines other than Google when Google didn’t give me what I wanted quickly enough). But now that Bing shines with two thirds of my searches decisions, it’s earned the right to be my default.

According to some, Bing has Google running scared. While I’m not sure about that, I am glad to be in a position where I want to use my own company’s search engine.

Cross-posted to the Microsoft Learning blog.