If I was Microsoft, and I was coming out with a new search engine, I would make all efforts to disassociate it from the name Microsoft. Let’s face it, when it comes to new tools, we all want the little guy to win. Now that Google is itself a monolith, we’re all looking for the next underdog.
What we get instead is Bing.
Bing may be brilliant, and it will have to be in order to knock down Google. But not only does it need to be brilliant, it needs to have a name worthy of verbification (with apologies to my English teacher). Everyone knows that Google is the Kleenex of search engines. We even have sites like www.letmegooglethatforyou.com for those who feel the need to be condescending toward the search-handicapped. What was search called before Google? Nobody ever said “Let me AltaVista that for you.”
It is clear that, in choosing the name “Bing,” Microsoft is hoping people will use it as a verb. They even went with a single syllable, possibly thinking that it would more easily roll off the tongue.
What if they’re right? What if “Bing” does become incorporated into our vocabulary? The new Microsoft search engine had better be good. It must be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. If it is not, people might use its name in a way that Microsoft hadn’t intended.
The preview does look promising. Bing appears to organize data in useful ways. It tells you which direction plane ticket prices are going? (How do they know?). In giving results to health questions, it gives weight to reputable sources. When searching for products or businesses, it appears to sort data in useful ways across sites. Let’s hope it is better at finding us what we want and isn’t just better at promoting its partners.
For Microsoft’s sake, I hope they don’t bing this one up.
Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.