Bing, Google Re-ignite Search Engine Wars

Bing goes the giant! Microsoft has finally revamped, renamed and re-aimed it’s search capabilities (Bing video search reported earlier). But what does it mean for you me and Google makes three?Steve Ballmer believes that search engines have not been the strongest in helping people use the information that it helps them find. So he and the big M$ have decided that Bing will help decide how to use that info. By continuing to expand their services they’re hoping to help people do more than just search and actually help them use what they find.

Last week they launched Bing Travel, it’s search and e-commerce all in one, handy no? So you search for something specifically travel-related and you get back something useful. For example, say you want to travel to visit me in Zagreb, Croatia (where I am currently). You head to Bing, you search for it the same way you would on many popular travel sites – origination point, destination, dates. It then goes out and gets the results for you and formats them in a very similar way to the sites that it polls for the info and other aggregation sites like Kayak. I tested with a flight from San Diego to Zagreb,Croatia (in the event that Mark wants to visit). I also did the exact same search on Kayak  for comparison purposes. Kayak returned similar results but for about $25 cheaper. I guess they haven’t perfected Bing travel fully yet or perhaps they’re not getting the good deals like some other sites are.

What Microsoft is attempting to do is to take search engines and turn them into something more useful than they have been. Google has been mostly content with you searching and then sifting through page upon page of search results and not really caring how useful the information is to you. Microsoft is going in the opposite direction as Google’s “One search to bind them all” in regards to media and information types. But was Google already in the know?

Google fired back with Google Squared, the same day that MS launched Bing Travel. It seems as if the time of firing shots across each other’s bows has come to an end and they’ve both turned broadside and are firing all cannons at will, directly at each other again. What Google Squared does is to take your input and turn it into a a collection of facts from the Web in a sort of configurable spreadsheet layout. There are a good deal of options and it does get sort of tedious, of course it’s still in the Labs so work is ongoing.

So what will this spell out for search engine usage in the future? Well, it could be the beginning of a pattern of centralization, decentralization similar to what the US government apparently goes through every so often. Google went centralized, with one search for everything. Bing comes back with multiple searches for multiple content types, Google may follow. That might end up being too tedious to maintain in the future and so we have a suggestion?

How about taking Google search options and making the first ‘do you want all results in one or do you want to search for specific data or media types? Then you have the best of both worlds and you let the users decide which they would prefer to use. Easy solution no?

Maybe Google Search, Google Squared and Google Search Options will one day lead to us being able to create out own results lists based on a pre-defined set of preferences. Or maybe the search engines will again splinter into separate and specific pieces and remain that way. No matter what happens it seems like the search engine wars are reigniting. God have mercy on us all.

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