Tired of just hearing about Microsoft’s new Bing search engine? Now you can use it yourself. Spotted via Techmeme, Bing is live as a “preview” service. What’s the “preview” mean? That anyone can use it while Live Search, the service that Bing is to replace, continues on as the “main” Microsoft search engine. Then sometime on June 3, coinciding with Microsoft’s Dr. Qi Lu speaking at our SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle, Bing will shift over and replace Live Search.
For more about Bing, see our recent stories:
- Meet Bing, Microsoft’s New Search Engine
- Microsoft’s Bing Vs Google: Head To Head Search Results
- State Of Search: Google Will Stay Strong Despite Bing & Yahoo
Postscript: Scratch that. Now requests to Live Search redirect to Bing, so everyone’s getting it, it seems.
And boy, is everyone getting it. Loic Le Meur notes how that if you do a search on Bing for sex, hit the video results and switch off the safe search option, you get some pretty hard-core porn video playing on Bing itself. I mean, you did switch off safe search, but whoa. TechCrunch has some safe-for-work but still gives the point screenshots.
Expect the “preview” moniker to be dropped on June 3. Expect the hard core porn to get dropped sooner.
Postscript 2: Techmeme is beginning to collect stories of people talking about tips and tricks on using Bing. Some of these aren’t unique to Bing; other search engines offer them, as well. But one good part about the Bing launch is that as people explore it, they’ll rediscover things that search engines generally can do but which are often overlooked or not realized by even tech-savvy people. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is a case in point. After seeing the Bing demo, he found it “astounding.” Trust me, Google could do a product demo of its various services that would blow his mind. Problem is, they don’t.
Google’s never really had to market itself to consumers, to trot its stuff. The recently held “Searchology” event didn’t cover anywhere near the range of what Google offers. But if the praise for Bing keeps largely rolling in — if people keep discovering features that aren’t necessarily unique to Bing — Google may find it has to step up. And Yahoo, too, could do a demo of its services that would blow people’s minds. But then again, Yahoo’s not a search engine anymore, I hear.
While I’m thrilled at the discovery that’s going to open up, I’m slightly worried we’ll be back to the bad old days of around 1998, when search engines were largely measured by making big charts and tickmarking what they offered. Bing has travel search; so does Yahoo, Google doesn’t — no tick for Google. Google has book search, Yahoo & Bing don’t, they don’t get a tick. Add up all the ticks, and the service with the most isn’t the winner. That’s just a proxy for the harder task of looking very closely at each service, at its “sub-search” or “vertical search services,” not to mention its overall mouthfeel.