Microsoft Bing’s Advantage

The following NYTimes story shows the impact that Microsoft’s newly re-relaunched search engine, Bing, is having in the search engine wars. Instead of being a hapless me-too, Bing brings real innovation and a competitive advantage in search results display to BING over Google. Here is the writing on the wall:Google’s frugal search result display under attack:

The screenshot above shows the CUIL browser’s display of search data and also has shown this type of innovation where images are used and there is a sidebar of categories/tags associated with the search item “Warkworth Ontario”. But CUIL, the work of a Google alumnus, does not have a)the hovering previews of each site[rather there is a small thumbnail image plucked from each site] that is a key part of Bing’s feature set and b)CUIL does not have the $100M advertising budget that Microsoft has brought to bear for the weeks after Bing’s launch. So now Google finds itself in unfamiliar territory – at the bottom of the heap in the innovative display of search results. Worse for Google, Microsoft leads.

What will be more interesting to see is how quickly Google responds to Bing given that the underlying AJAX technology to add these types of features are quite familiar to Google [see its Google Maps and Google Docs technologies]. Even more intriguing is the fact that Microsoft has said that the current release of Bing is only the first foray – and that Bing would be offering even more search display features in the future. If these Bing’s tricks are based on deep Semantic Web technology, Microsoft may be able to forge a much more sustainable lead .So what goodies does Redmond have up it sleeves will be of great interest.

Memo to antitrust regulators – note that the dominant and monopolistic player, Google, did nothing to improve displaying search results despite several small start-ups innovations until a player [Microsoft] who could do some damage to Google’s market share introduced a browser with such capabilities. Proof yet again that the pace of innovation declines in markets where monopolies are allowed to persist.

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