Bing may be a great search engine. But, I don’t think it’s good enough to make of a difference in search. Never mind usurp Google’s strangle hold. Microsoft feels there is tremendous amounts of money to be made from search. So they bet on Bing. The problem is they’ve just built another mouse trap. Even if it’s a “better” mouse trap, it’s still just another mousetrap. Is Google perfect? I can’t tell you that, but what I can tell you is it works just fine for me and just about everyone else I know. There is no latent, pent up demand in me that says, “fuck; I wish someone would just create a better search engine, this sucks”. I have no “problem” with Google. And, that IS a problem for Bing.
If you are going to get me to leave for something different, not new, but DIFFERENT, I have to have a problem with the current product. If I don’t have a problem, the only way you’ll get me to switch is if your different product is so much better I just can’t believe I was able to live with out it. It can’t be a little different, or a lot different, but unbelievable different if you’re going to get me to switch. Bing ain’t unbelievably different.
There’s tons of money in search. I get Microsoft wants a piece of it, but skating to the puck is not the way to get it. Microsoft needed to change search, they needed to skate to where the puck was going. MS has not done well with search to date, with 98% of their current Live Search traffic coming passively from MSN. In hopes to change things, MS is gonna spend mad money on advertising to get the word out. I don’t think this is going to work. It just looks and feels like more of the same, like a better mousetrap.
Too many companies make the mistake of skating to the puck by making better mouse traps and expecting it to make a splash, save the company or take market share. Skating to the puck and better mouse traps are maintenance moves. It keeps you in the game, it keeps you relevant, it doesn’t change the playing field. It’s not disruptive.
To be disruptive, to be truly game changing you have to skate to where the puck is going. You have to look ahead. To skate to where the puck is going, you have to have your head up. When you have your head up and are looking down ice, you aren’t looking at what is happening now but rather formulating where everything that’s happening now is going.
If Microsoft had been skating to where the puck is going, I’m convinced Bing would look completely different. If Microsoft had been skating with their heads up, Bing would be search 3008 not search 2000-late.
To be disruptive, keep your head!