So Bing, the new search engine by Microsoft, has been live for a few weeks. It has been covered extensively by the online press and blogosphere; but here is my modest contribution on the topic (with emphasis of shopping-related features).
First of all, what I don’t like:
What I like:
For shopping, the release of Bing US means the recently merge of Windows Live Search Products + Windows Live Search Cashback is now called “Bing Shopping“, and is pretty well integrated in the whole Bing experience.
I.E: searching for “canon eos” brings a shopping placement with top products at the top of pages, that redirects to product pages; also on the left-hand side column, a “shopping” cluster is available that only show shopping results.
The design of the shopping result pages is really similar to the classic search engine result pages; good to see consistency that gives the feeling we have one product / one search experience (I’m not using Bing Shopping or Bing Search, I’m using Bing).
In terms of feature, Bing Shopping remains identical to what Windows Live Shopping was.
In Europe, the shopping section of Bing is powered by Ciao ; and the integration is not really successful. Let’s take the same example. The search result page is a old-fashioned search engine result page, without shopping placements. Only the “shopping” link at the top redirects to the Ciao site.
The Ciao sites have slightly been updated to follow the Bing style for search results. However, the result is not really polished – it seems a quick makeover, rather than a thoroughly-thought redesign.
So overall I’m impressed by the quality of the Bing experience – not sure it will make me switch from Big G however, especially with the lower quality of Bing in Europe compared to the US. In US, intense marketing efforts (tv ads, important cashback offers) seem to already have positive impacts on the market share of Bing vs Windows Live. Let’s see in the long run if it can become a real competitor to Google.