Is Google Afraid of Bing?

Perhaps this is a thought coming from left-field but is there a possibility that Google is afraid of Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing?

This thesis is based on a few developments:

1. On the day Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was apparently scheduled to unveil Bing at the All Things D conference, Google unleashed its eye-catching Wave, a new real-time communications platform that will be unveiled later this year. (See TechCrunch for details on what Google did last Thursday.)

When it comes to new product announcements, there’s usually an unofficial code of conduct in which companies respect each other’s launch days – similar to guys agreeing to not mow each other’s lawns when socializing with the fairer sex. So Google’s decision to break the code is eye-catching.

2. There seems to be people impressed with Bing. Apple founder Steve Wozniak, for example, had some glowing things to say about Bing after seeing the demo at All Things Do.

“I don’t normally come to these business presentations and all that, but I thought it was one of the most astounding software demos I’ve ever seen,” Wozniak said. “It was so well thought out, the algorithms, the intelligence of it, really impressed me.”

If you’re Wozniak, there’s an element of risk by publicly praising a new search engine taking on Google. If Bing falls flat on its face, Wozniak’s words could come back to haunt him.

Then again, maybe Wozniak is on to something. Maybe Bing is pretty good.

If Bing starts to attract accolades from a growing number high-profile users, it could – and I stress could – give Bing’s some much-needed momentum that would never get from an expensive advertising campaign.

In search, success depends on two things: a service that works as well if not better than Google, and people excited about using it. It’s the formula that propelled Google, and allowed it to quickly leap over Excite, HotBot, Lycos, et al for supremacy in the search engine wars.

If Bing can catch catch lighting in a bottle, the phrase Ba da bing could take on a whole new meaning.

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  • SEO Rabit

    Bing is definitely beating Google in some aspects of SERP serving. They integrate the "local vertical" of their universal search in a more useful way, no doubt about that. Same can be said about the shopping vertical. Google should be afraid of Bing not just because Woz think the Bing is great, but because Microsoft finally developed a product that is different and obviously better then Google in some aspects of "search". We will have to wait an see how it measures against Google in the quality of results department.

    I would like to see Bing chopping of a chunk of the market , because the search needs another engine and Google needs to learn a lesson on transparency.

    Because of that, I will promote Bing every chance I get.

  • Martyr2

    Perhaps afraid if they are afraid of themselves. The new Bing looks a lot like the old Google search results. Sure they have break out little previews, but same colors, general location of links, cached items etc. It really looks like one of my sites where I run a Google mini search appliance on it.

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  • Andy Warhol

    Bing is definitely beating Google in some aspects of SERP serving. They integrate the "local vertical" of their universal search in a more useful way, no doubt about that.