Microsoft trailed massively behind Google with its search efforts for many years. There was just something missing, be it a memorable name, a brand that sticks, the look and feel, or the functionality. Whatever it was, the launch of Bing earlier this year put a lot of things right. Google users are now converting to Bing, although that trend may stop if outages such as the one experienced last night continue.
Google is an integral part of the Web and has been for many years. It’s often the first site people visit on the Web, both the first time they connect and every time afterwards. It’s correctly referred to as the gateway of the Internet, with its ease of use and the power to transport you to all four corners of the Web.
However, there are alternatives and have been for years. And Bing is Microsoft’s latest attempt at toppling the mighty Google. The problem is informing people of the alternatives and persuading them that they are often as good, or better, at signposting the billions of Web pages now present on the Internet.
According to Digital Inspiration, Microsoft recently hired a qualitative research firm to find out whether people could be actively turned from Google to Bing. So, 15 Google users were recruited and told to use Bing exclusively for a week. There was to be no Google but also no reason given for this, with Microsoft’s part in the experiment kept hidden until the end.
Amazingly, 10 out of the 15 test subjects ended the week indicating that they would be sticking with Bing over Google. This proves a theory I and many others have had for a while that people generally just use what they know and trust on the Web, ignoring alternatives if they feel them to be unnecessary. This experiment also backs up the results of the Blind Search Test.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Bing isn’t quite in a position to challenge Google for the search crown yet. Bing experienced an outage on Thursday night between approx 9:25 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Forty-five minutes may not sound like much but imagine if the Google homepage went down for that long and think again.
Brilliantly, Tony Chor from the Bing team tweeted that the service was back up by quipping, “Bing is back. You can all stop using Google now.”