Monday, March 29, 2010

I Want A Search Engine, Not A Decision Engine Over the last few weeks I've been to several online marketing conferences that specifically focused on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Marketing (SEM) strategies. Bing was a big sponsor of all of these conferences so I got to hear several Bing employees talk about the benefits of their new search engine and I also got to try it out myself. Bing's marketing campaign is promoting that they are not a search engine, but rather, a 'decision engine.' Bing is focused on better understanding user intent and displaying fewer, but more relevant/accurate results based on your intent. Since their inception, search engines have always been on a mission to better understand user intent and deliver better results so in a sense, this is not new. In addition, with Google's recent introduction of personal search results they too seem to be headed further down this path. In theory, this all sounds great to me. However, I personally don't like where this could lead. Bing seems to be narrowing the results returned based on the assumption that they better understand your intent. They make it more of an effort to get passed these limited options and expand your search in case they got it wrong. Others are getting into the game as well. Take a look at this screen shot from Travelocity. In performing a search for a plane ticket I was presented with one option they selected for me based on what they felt was my 'intent.' Not only were they wrong...

Jason Lander

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