Bing Tries to be too Thoughtful for Google
Have you ever wondered how it is that when you try to look up the weather on the Internet, all the brand-name weather sites just can’t agree on what the weather is going to be like. Well, Microsoft certainly has noticed this, and is trying to win some points trying to smooth this over for for you. When you search on Bing for the weather in your local area, we will certainly get your usual list of major weather forecast websites; but if you venture further, you can find an automatic Bing Compare laid out for you of what all the other websites say. And to help you decide which website you prefer for your forecast, Bing will even write up a journal for you of what the weather has been like over a period of time. Additionally, Bing will also match up the forecast against what really happened, and over the course of a month or two, to give you recommendations on which forecast service is best to choose.
Certainly these are improvements, but most interesting about them is the fact that it gives us some clues as to how Bing is trying to outdo Google. Take the innovation at Bing that they call entity cards. Searching on subjects like celebrities, travel destinations, or disease
symptoms, little “entity card” boxes pop up with what Bing considers to be useful asides. If there are a lot of people around the world searching for the same thing, say the city of Paris, Bing will reckon that it must be some event in Paris, and try to offer a hotel and travel information, and listings of important events in those entity boxes. Or if you are looking for information on a pop music personality, Bing will fill those boxes with tour dates and ticket availability information.
All the major search engines have great integration with the important social networks; but Bing is looking for ways to take it higher. In Twitter, Microsoft allows you to sort tweets by celebrity, and look up the busiest Twitter celebs first. Bing’s Facebook plan is to lay your friends out on a grid and allow you to choose among the most active ones in lots of convenient ways. Bing isn’t about real revolution yet; it is about thoughtfulness, trying to think like the user, and plying them with lots of delightful little cosmetic touches. This seems to be working, in an age of short attention spans. We’ll get to see if it is a Google beater, not long from now.