Bing Still Needs Zing

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Bing! There's the bell.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) new search engine is off to a good start, but not as good as it first appeared. Bing briefly moved past Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) as the No. 2 search engine after being released into the Web wild, but it's slipped back to third as of this writing.

Third place is still impressive -- as are the latest engagement stats from comScore. The researcher says that Mr. Softy's search sites increased their market share from 13.8% to 15.5% in the week of Bing's debut. Translation: Bing is reaching more people than had been.

But the real target is Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , and Bing is nowhere near the mark. StatCounter pegged Bing's share of searches at 5.56% on June 4 -- its best day -- but still well below the 87.66% The Big G got.

Calling that troubling would be unfair; it's only Bing's first week. And yet, in a sense, these numbers are troubling. They suggest that being good isn't nearly as important as being the Known Brand.

Google has a reputation for delivering quality search results. Mr. Softy's own tests during Bing's development -- back when it was still called "Kumo" -- found that users rated its results highest when they were disguised as being from Google, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other words, brand is as much an advantage for The Big G as it is for Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) or Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) . How does Microsoft overcome that?

Bing is a strong first step. But in the battle of the brands, good isn't good enough. Show us remarkable, Mr. Softy.

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Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Coca-Cola and Microsoft are Inside Value picks. Coca-Cola is also an Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy just heard the opening bell.

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  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2009, at 11:57 AM, ByrneShill wrote:

    That's sad. Bing is much better than google. Gives better results somehow. I'm not sure exactly why people still use google.

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