I, like many people, viewed the Bing marketing video last week, which promised not to create a search engine, but to create a ‘decision engine’ - if you winced at this blatant attempt at the ‘game changing switcheroo’, congratulations, you can join me on the ‘jaded technology observer’ bench. Despite my distaste at having to swim through the murky waters of marketing blurb in this video, the demonstration looked pretty nice - showing how the ‘decision engine’ picks out flight details, product reviews and other things out of your search terms and provides context-sensitive recategorisations such as price and specifications of digital cameras if that’s what you were searching for etc. I could definitely see a use for that sort of thing, provided the ‘decision’ part of the engine didn’t get too zealous, start finding unintended patterns, and obscuring the regular search results.
Now that I’ve had a few minutes to play with the real thing today, I needn’t have worried. Because it seems that despite what I type in to the search engine, it just gives me regular search results - even if I try to recreate some of the examples in the demo from last week, like searching for digital cameras. Is the ‘decision’ part of the engine just turned off right now? Because as it stands, what I see is a pretty competent Google rip-off, which technically is no mean feat, but the world doesn’t need another Google. We already have one.
Maybe someone will flip a switch and it’ll suddenly start doing the magical things the marketing video talked about.
Edit: ok, I see that the filtering and review features are in the Shopping section, but Google has these in it’s own Shopping section too. Someone tell me, exactly what is Bing doing that Google hasn’t been for the last several years? Am I just blind to the genius of the ‘decision engine’?