I know plenty has been said on this subject already. Microsoft’s new search platform bing is lame.
I don’t know if it’s lame to use (haven’t tried it – love Google) but lame in name. It’s a lame name, bing, and I don’t think it’ll catch on as a verb, which appears to be (Microsoft CEO Steve) Ballmer’s goal (everyone’s Googling and Facebooking and Twittering, we want them to bing! How’d you find me? I binged you! Do me a favor, and bing bing crosby, will ya? Bing bing cherries. Bing Chandler Bing. Crap, Bing means “disease” in Chinese!).
But I have more trouble frankly with their tagline… The Decision Engine. Clearly they’re trying to set themselves apart from other search engines… and not just any particular search engines, but all search engines, in that they’re trying to say they’re NOT a search engine. They’re saying “We’re different. We’re not a search engine. We’re a decision engine.”
But that doesn’t change the fact that their core competition is/are, in fact, search engines. Of which, like it or not, they are one.
The problem with claiming they aren’t a search engine is that they’ve got to first get people to buy into the concept that there is such a thing as a decision engine, and then get them to believe that bing’s the one they should use (theoretically easy, since they’re the only one – and likely will remain so).
And even more fundamentally, deciding that you’re a decision engine assumes that a decision engine is what people want, which assumes that people use search engines to make decisions.
I don’t have any metrics to back this up but I’m fairly certain that people use search engines to search after they’ve already decided. I “decide” to see a movie, and I go online to find out what’s playing and what time it’s on.* I “decide” I need to know the definition of “vomitory” and then I go online to look it up. I don’t “decide” what time the movie’s on, and I don’t “decide” what the definition of “vomitory” is.
I “find” those things.
If Microsoft really felt it needed to redefine what kind of engine they were launching, the obvious choice would be “find engine”. It’s shorter, easier to remember, is already a verb, and addresses what it is people want to do on search engines… “find stuff”.
Had Microsoft called me (don’t laugh, it could happen… really) I’d have said “Be a search engine. It’s what people know. Differentiate yourself by taglining with the “find” thesis. Go buy find.com. You can afford it. It’s already a verb. People will happily and comfortably say “go find that for me”. And then promote the fuck out of it as The “find what you need” search engine. As Don’t just search. Find. Either of which is better than The Decision Engine.”
That’s what I would have said.
But then they didn’t ask me, did they?
That’s why bing is lame.