Posts Tagged ‘Bing’

Has the traditional concept of search jumped the shark?

September 15th, 2009
Has the traditional concept of search jumped the shark?

A couple of weeks ago I referred to Alex Campbell’s post on the possible drivers behind behavioural changes in the way people use Google search. Personally, my greatest frustration with Google is trying to find up to date information and being presented with articles that are years old. Maybe that’s more of a failing with the user than the algorithm. Whatever the case, I seldom find relevant and up-to-date results the first time.

Since that article Google has rolled out the mother of all updates: A larger search box. Of course it’s not just a larger search box. There’s also larger, blocky, bespoke buttons and a new typeface. There was almost enough discussion about the typeface alone on Twitter to rival the Ikea uproar. Ok I’m exaggerating, but there was significant chatter for something I thought was, well, pretty trivial.

I’m a little dubious about Marissa’s claim that the larger search box is for added fun. Although it probably makes sense in terms of allowing for a wider drop down for the predictive keywords. Also with monitor resolutions getting higher the once sparse and clean Google homepage is really starting to get a little pokey and dated. So how do you keep up while maintaining the status quo? Easy, just upscale the search box and the buttons.

The recent addition of some visual-bling to the once barren text-based domain of search doesn’t just stop there. Google now have Fast Flip which despite the claim it emulates a news stand, it is really just a gimmick. Then there’s bling, er sorry, Bing. I actually admire Microsoft (wow, did I just say that?) for taking such an approach with Bing. The fresh image every day is really just a cheeky alternative to changing your logo every day (don’t get me started on the Google logo). I also like the way Microsoft have built in a discovery component to the images.

Microsoft have taken Bing a step further with the announcement today of Visual Search. This is not a new idea and while it has some merit I think it’s uses are pretty limited. Even in the demonstration most of the focus while using visual search was on the refinement tools on the left. The images really just served to show the number of potential matches or help provide some recognition that you were on the right path. It’s also interesting to note that in some cases selecting an image just dropped the appropriate keywords into the search bar to begin a new search. Groundhog Day anyone?

Finally, I love the way Microsoft are edging into Google’s space, quite literally. While both parties claim that Microsoft has not purchased any questionable keywords as was initially reported, it seems as though the word “search” has been. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

So with all prettying-up of search and tinkering with SEO and keywords, I can’t help but think that traditional search has really run out of genuinely new ideas. Is this as good as it gets? Have we jumped the shark?

UPDATE: Google This: 5 Reasons to Switch to Bing

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