Software pioneer Mitchell Kapor once said, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” Amen to that. Road rage on the superhighway is mouse-bangingly high, and a recent study estimates that more than 20,000 new sites crowd onto the Web every day.
Enter Bing, the new search engine from Microsoft, geared toward one very specific goal: delivering you to your destination with minimal clickage. “Our competitor loves [lengthy searches] because you have five to eight advertisers on the page, and the more searches you do, the more money they make,” says Eric Hadley, general manager of worldwide marketing for Bing. Throughout its seven intuitive search categories (images, videos, shopping, news, maps, travel and entertainment), Bing plants the “most wanted” information on the first page of results. For example, shop for an item on Bing and you’ll find product summaries, user reviews, expert opinions and a unique scorecard compiled from reliable sources across the Web, all on the results page. Within the videos tab, users can scroll over video thumbnails for an instant preview tominimize back-button clickage.
This summer, following their oneyear anniversary, Bing launched a comprehensive entertainment package and a spiffy new iPhone app (to add to the several already offered by Bing). The entertainment search encompasses movies, television, music, games and video games. Users can watch trailers and get local showtimes for the latest movies, browse a television directory more than 21,000 episodes deep and stream songs from their favorite artists, without ever leaving Bing or meddling with registration, usernames or passwords. With Bing’s new iPhone app, users have access to Ryan Seacrest’s MixTapes by Bing and other special playlists. “You can get the American Top 40 playlists, Ryan’s playlist and the top 100 songs from each decade. Ryan curates a playlist of hundreds and hundreds of songs,” adds Hadley. Perhaps the Bing app’s niftiest feature is the barcode scanner, which can be used to comparison shop for anything with a bar code, from CDs to Louboutins.
And proving they’ve got just as much quirk as the gang at Google (known for such antics as posting a (Pac-Man player on their home page), Bing’s director of brand entertainment, Sean Carver, and The Colbert Report writers recently put their heads together on a skit to raise funds for Gulf relief. The idea was that Bing would pledge $2,500 toward Gulf relief each time Colbert said the word “Bing,” which by our count rang in at a whopping 40 mentions. What’s next for Bing? “We’re going to add more and more all the time. We just announced a Twitter deal a couple of months ago. As we evolve the products, it’s going to get more personalized and more about what you want,” says Hadley.