As a former Googler, I admit that I read and watched the announcements regarding the launch of Microsoft's latest search engine with somewhat of a yawn. I mean let's be honest, Microsoft's track record in search hasn't exactly been stellar. Redmond just can't seem to even make a dent in the search marketplace, so much so that Ballmer and company were willing to spend (at one point) upwards of $40 Billion to acquire Yahoo, mostly for it's search business.
Enter Bing. I'll admit, my expectations were pretty low. As such it wouldn't be difficult to exceed them, but I think Microsoft actually HAS something this time. The interface is slick, fast, and modern. I dare say it kind of makes that plain Google landing page look sadly pathetic (Google's homepage was designed for the days when 56k dial-up was by and large the way most people accessed the Internet). Usability on Bing for tasks such as searching for travel deals etc really illustrate how G has seemingly become content to rest on it's laurels while pursuing things that generate no revenue and leave people asking "what's the point" (did the world REALLY need another Internet Browser?).
I like Bing and apparently a lot of other people do as well. It's not perfect but it's a great start. Bing certainly has a long way to go to even pretend to challenge Google in the search advertising business, but Bing has not gone unnoticed at the Borg in spite of what CEO Eric Schmidt would like the world to believe. Well placed insiders are saying Bing has apparently gotten the attention of Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin who is reportedly rattled enough by the new "decision engine" to personally head up and assign a team of top engineers to work on "urgent upgrades" to the Google search service.
In the end, I don't think anyone realistically expects Redmond to beat Google at their own game (at least not anytime soon) but I congratulate Microsoft for getting back to innovating, and I congratulate Google for taking the challenge seriously. This is healthy competition and it can only make Internet search a better experience for all of us.