Microsoft is about to launch its new search engine on June 4th. Bing is meant to compete with Google and I am certain Microsoft wants to eventually go toe to toe with Google. Can they do it? Their last effort the not so successful, Live.com did not make the mighty G shiver in their boots but the new Bing just might.
Unlike Google, which generally returns links to mere web sites, Bing crawls listings at review services like Yelp.com and CitySearch. It then summarizes the results and displays a scorecard for each, rating things like service, drinks, food, wait time, lunch offerings, and so on, all laid out in a neat comparative table.
From the looks of the preview Microsoft showed off today Bing can do some things very well and it is those areas that interest me the most. It can do local search very well. If you need a local restaurant, car repair, or shopping location Bing can drill you in quickly an din great detail. Imagine being able to sort your local restaurant search by price, parking (?), location, reviews and more?
On the up side of this launch Bing does much more than search for relevant links. It retrieves and processes data, and renders it in great fashion that is easy to understand. That makes finding a great local restaurant or booking an airline ticket to NY, a snap.
But from the preview it is clear that you can find some cool stuff in their local search results. The problem appears to be that you have to know how to dig and find it. The first results may not wow the viewer but if you know how to dig further you can get some great stuff. The problem lies in that digging. Maybe MS will have that resolved by launch but right now it is not self evident.
But the good news for local businesses is that all the major players are making more of an effort to get local search right and that means that if you as a local business optimize your business on the Internet you could see wonderful results in terms of getting new customers from online search. Google and Microsoft battling it out is only good for you as a small business looking for more customers!