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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Inauspicious Bing-inning?

Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, is now live in Canada, one of three countries (the US and the UK are the others) to get full access to the engine out of beta. I attended an impressive launch demo last night in downtown Toronto.

Before getting to the serious nitty gritty review -- you knew this was coming right guys? -- I have to mess with the Microsofters a little bit. Bad news first, full review (mostly good) later this evening.

The bad news is, you can't search Bing to find any relevant results on the query "microsoft canada bing launch." Looking at the screen shot below, that isn't the worst of the problems. The worst problem is that the familiar old eBay dynamic keyword insertion ad made it to the top of the right rail on that long tail query!

Canada
Fantastic prices on Canada. Buy &
Sell today

Love it! Always loved it!













Ha, and here I thought our dollar was making a comeback. :(

To their credit, on my favorite "embarrass the ad-engine" query, [schnauzers], the Bing result is really nice - with no ads, and helpful refinements in the left nav.













This does highlight a key issue with Bing - both a strength, and proof that there is much left to be done. There's a gap between the satisfaction you'll likely receive from popular queries -- the Microsoft team is optimizing results to provide quick answers to people's questions on the most popular generic queries -- and the not-much-improved functionality for longer tail queries.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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