Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The decison engine: Giving Google a run for its money?

Microsoft's new search engine Bing was all the buzz at the Internet Retailer conference in Boston last week, and there's a good chance you've already seen some of its commercials on TV. Microsoft is expected to spend at least $80 million promoting its new product.

With four-and-a-half sites created EVERY SECOND on the Web, it's often daunting for consumers to weed through search-engine results to find the answers they want. Unless users have specific fact-based questions such as, "What is the capital of North Dakota?" or "Who was the 17th president?," search engines often provide an overload of information and make it hard to get those complex questions answered (e.g. "What camera model is best for me?").

Bing, the new "decision engine" from Microsoft, aims to make it easier to sift through the Web's wealth of information. It's a fascinating site and I recommend you take a few minutes to check it out.

Bing brings together price comparisons, images and reviews to help shoppers quickly find the products and deals they want. Deals are found from all over the Web, sorted and grouped so it's easy for users to zero in on what they want and make better purchasing decisions. It also helps consumers get cash back from hundreds of retailers (see the demo for details). In addition, a feature called Price Predictor actually reveals when to buy an airline ticket in order to get the best price: For example, "this price will drop in three days, so wait until then."

Its commercials, which feature people rambling off information rather than answering a simple question, are clever. Although the TV spots don't explain HOW the site works, traffic numbers show that people are flocking to Bing to check it out.

Watch the demo at the top, check out the site,, and drop me a line. I'd love to know what you think.

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