Microsoft is pushing its new Bing Smart Search feature, which will hit the streets tomorrow when the company releases Windows 8.1.
Bing isn't relevant and I appreciate that they have a lot of money and don't like not being relevant, but TOUGH. Here are five reasons why Bing doesn't get it:
Look at that page. With its tiny poor contrast Call To Action and 117 words of copy. The page is graphically dull. The copy talks about itself to itself (good summary of Bing's problem right there).
2. Now click on the tiny Get Started CTA.
So Bing wants to show me their search engine by limiting my search and showing me a movie. Talking to self about self again and creating cognitive dissonance about their search.
3. The Magic Typing They Do For You.
Now click again and watch as the movie types a search for you and then starts talking about Windows. What? Windows aren't we discussing Bing and search what does windows have to do with anything. Search is search and Windows is Windows don't talk search and then force Windows down my throat.
4. Bing Makes NYC Boring.
Keep clicking next (like a puppet) and Bing makes the most exciting city on earth feel and look boring. Again why are we not in a live search window and in control of our own destiny as a true search engine would solve the problem of teaching us about.... well everything? Because this is Microsoft and damn if their WE KNOW BETTER attitude doesn't die very, very hard.
WINDOWS is different than search. Windows is about structuring a rules based world. Search is about the serendipity of Stimulus-Response. As choice creeps toward infinity we need the semantically intelligent (knowledge search) features Bing touts but doesn't fully understand.
5. Search Vs. Operating
I dig that operating system revenue is drying up and blowing away fast, but if Microsoft wants to be in the search business they have to create a search business not an add-on to Windows. Search is search and operating systems are operating systems. To the extent one even remotely resembles the other Microsoft fails and Bing more than remotely resembles Windows.
Both Windows and Bing have the same lousy graphics, poor choice of layout, copy and a We Know Better attitude that is barely hidden. Why would we ever CARE about Microsoft again when they work so hard to make sure caring is impossible?
Sometimes it is impossible to fix a product development product INSIDE the company. I suggest Microsoft do these 5 things fast:
* Get Bing OUT OF REDMOND and into a skunk works.
* Fire everyone at Bing now.
* Fire your ad agency (they suck).
* Open up the problem to User Generated Content; create a Bing $2M competition where $1M goes to winner of how to fix Bing and the other mill goes to their charity.
* Create a Bing Fellows competition and award grants to quants that do cool search things Bing can co-opt or make bigger.
Bing can't be relevant now. It isn't being run like a search engine, it doesn't look, sound or act like a search engine (at least not a good one) and the most damaging thing is Bing is not relevant, unneeded and seen for what it is - a play to keep Windows relevant and Windows isn't relevant and will be less so daily.