'Bing it?' Microsoft seeks search switchers

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Bada-what?

Gotten over Google? Wary of Wolfram Alpha? Powerset give you pause? Microsoft thinks it's time to try Bing.

The folks in Redmond have reportedly put up $80 million for a nationwide advertising campaign touting a revamp of Live Search (and a name change – Bing – get it?), a revision that's supposed to fix everything that's wrong with search today.

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But wait, what's wrong with search today? Apparently, lots. From the Advertising Age report:

People with knowledge of the planned push said the ads won't go after Google, or Yahoo for that matter, by name. Instead, they'll focus on planting the idea that today's search engines don't work as well as consumers previously thought by asking them whether search (aka Google) really solves their problems. That, Microsoft is hoping, will give consumers a reason to consider switching search engines, which, of course, is one of Bing's biggest challenges.

The $80-$100 million Redmond has earmarked for the Bing campaign is a lot – even for a nationwide campaign. As AdAge writes, "Google spent about $25 million on all its advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, with about $11.6 million of that focused on recruiting. Microsoft, by comparison, spent $361 million. Certainly Google has never faced an ad assault of anything like this magnitude."

Microsoft is no stranger to advertising wars. What American with a TV or Web connection hasn't seen the "You find it, you keep it" spots, the latest salvo in the Mac vs. PC war? The response from Apple, yet another iteration of the "I'm a Mac" ads, was clever, yes, but getting old. Hey, at least we don't have the Seinfeld and Gates comedy hour anymore.

Look for Bing (codenamed Kumo) to be introduced by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week at the D: All Things Digital conference north of San Diego.

Social search

Microsoft isn't the only one trying to get more out of search. Twitter has emerged as a go-to source for up-to-the-second results. And, as Kit Eaton reports for Fast Company, Google is looking to add a little social flavor to search results. "For now, Google will add a slightly personalized, more human angle to search queries by letting users rate search responses and delete unrelated links," he writes. "The social-relevant search is a tricky task, since it requires a degree of information about the user, and some clever context-sensing software if Google is to get its responses right."

Facebook, on the other hand, presents a social searcher's dream: "if you publish a query using your Facebook wall, asking for a restaurant recommendation perhaps, then the responses you'll get from your pool of friends are already personalized, thanks to the social network that binds Facebook together."

For more: Search Engine Wars: Google Aims for Social Search, as Microsoft Chases It With Bing [Fast Company]

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