No, not even close. However, Microsoft’s new search engine is pretty intriguing. Especially because it was recently announced that they passed up Yahoo search and have become the #2 most popular search engine on the web. Of course, Bing is still in the “fresh and exciting” stage since it was just launched, which is most likely why it has been receiving so many visits. Are these visitors actually going to give up Google for it, though, or are they just checking it out before returning to their security blanket when they’re done? That remains to be seen, although I’m pretty sure Google shouldn’t be too worried.
Bing is doing some interesting work with their local search, however. If you’re looking for a restaurant or hotel in a specific city, there are some handy sorting features to help you narrow down your search. Google offers these, too, but not as many, as Google Maps offers 3 and Bing offers 7. For my example, I performed a search for “restaurants in portland” and Bing gave me the following options to help filter my search:
Rating (minimum): if you only want the best rated food available.
Price (maximum): if you’re trying to save every penny of your paycheck.
Type of cuisine: for those times you just really want a burger and nothing else.
Atmosphere: for when you need to find the perfect “date” place.
Reservations: is this last minute or planned weeks in advance?
Payment: don’t look like a schmuck if you go to a cash only diner with your debit card.
Parking: many restaurants in Portland don’t offer parking so is going to be street or valet?
Now that you’ve narrowed down your search from the sidebar, it’s time for the next step. Click into any of the listings and you’ll be presented with some additional information about the restaurant as well as a new feature called the “scorecard”. Microsoft has essentially gone a level deeper from only showing reviews. They’ve taken all of the reviews, pulled out all of the key identifiers from each one, and have created various categories from those identifiers with percentage ratings. Here’s an example to make this more clear:
When viewing the scorecard, you can also click into any of the categories to see why a specific category has a low rating. This place looks like it has a long wait time, so I’d probably check out something else.
You’re almost done. You’ve picked a place after meticulous research and now you just need to figure out how to get there. Microsoft couldn’t have made this easier as they’ve included 1-click directions for every local listing. Select where you are coming from and Bing will pull up the directions for you. Here’s how it looks:
In closing, while Bing may not ever beat out Google in performance or popularity, they may succeed in gaining local followers because of the built out features and the ease of use. If you’re a business owner, claim your listing on Bing and start building it out as soon as possible.