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The Bing and I: Incorporating Wolfram Alpha

A Search Engine, A Computational Engine, A Decision Engine? I actually like the direction that Microsoft is going with Bing. Now, nobody is a bigger fan of Google than me and it’s going to be an uphill battle, but conceptually there are some interesting pieces here. To step back for a second, I’m a big believer in the Trout and Ries belief in Positioning – that there are only three successful positions to be in: 1) The Category Leader, 2) Second in the Category (but playing off the leader), or 3) Repositioning the Category (to be in first or second). We all know that Google is the category leader in search, but with the integration of Yahoo, Bing in theory moves into second but is actively looking to reposition itself in the marketplace. First, there is the “decision-engine” concept – if you can’t be first in search, try to be first in searching for flights, shopping, etc. Another point, reported [1] this week by Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost is the likelihood of Bing incorporating content from WolframAlpha. Is this another way to segment the search world to make specific intent more user-friendly? I’d say very possibly. Is that content highly monetizable? I’m not sure. But, Google’s model was to build the user experience first and we know how that worked out. Down the road, there are probably natural tie-ins to display and other Microsoft core competencies which make this interesting if Bing can redefine and present different information in different ways as it has tried to do with flights and shopping. In any case, you can’t have a titlefight if you don’t have a contender and I like seeing upward movement in the ranks.