Microsoft launched a search engine – Bing. They call it a “decision engine”, but it really is a search engine, trying to capture and/or crawl the web with the goal that it can return a good result to your query.
Google is so popular and well known that it became a verb to “Google” something. Why would anyone not using some sort of revolutionary new technology try to compete with Google in the search engine market? Because Microsoft is big in size and Google does not own that entire market. To capture even 1% of the search engine market can potentially produce millions in profit.
There are a fair number of search engines out there, some highly specialized. Until Microsoft the most recent was Wolfram. Calling itself a “computational knowledge engine” and using Artificial Intelligence, it’s goal was to extrapolate from the data on the Internet and directly respond to your query with a single direct answer. It’s an interesting tool but falls far short of being as helpful as Google.
In a short time, people are already calling the “big 3″ search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Yahoo is a busy, distracting place. Google took off because it was simple, clean, and uncluttered. Results were the only thing displayed. The Bing screen is done the same way, making me believe its developers are either copying or learned from Google’s experience.
So how do these “big 3″ compare to each other? Someone has created a blind test tool for you to decide for yourself. You can go to Blind Search, enter your query and pick with engine returned the best responses. The results surprised me. I love Google, and have had a lot of past issues with Microsoft, but for the few selfish queries I did on my own name and blog, Bing came back with me as the top ranked result. On other queries the favorite results bounced between Bing and Google, so for a brand new search tool Bing is doing surprisingly well.
UPDATE 08/2009: Microsoft was caught manipulating the search results to favor themselves over the competition. For example; searching for “why is windows so expensive” produced a first page, different from Google’s, listing why Macs and Linux were more expensive than windows. They corrected this, but shortly later another one was found (and corrected), so there is now a result trust problem with the Bing search engine.