Finding the bling in ‘’ – Microsoft’s decision engine

29 May 2009

Microsoft last night began to take the wraps off its new search engine, which it has said will make searching far more efficient and will help people arrive at better decisions.

Microsoft said the new service at will begin rolling out over the next few days and will be available globally on 3 June.

According to Microsoft, Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines, but begins to move beyond this experience with a new approach to user experience and intuitive tools to help customers make better decisions, focusing initially on four key vertical areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.

The result of this new approach, the company said, is an important beginning for a new and more powerful kind of search service, which Microsoft is calling a Decision Engine, designed to empower people to gain insight and knowledge from the web, moving more quickly to important decisions.

It seems what Microsoft is unveiling here could be midway between Google and the newly launched Wolfram Alpha, which endeavours to provide searchers with answers to their queries.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the explosive growth of online content has continued unabated, and Bing was developed as a tool to help people more easily navigate through the information overload that has come to characterise many of today’s search experiences.

Results from a custom comScore Inc study across core search engines showed that as many as 30pc of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result. The data also showed that approximately two-thirds of the remaining searches required a refinement or re-query on the search results page.

“Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.

“When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the web. Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they’ve found to accomplish tasks and make smart decisions.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years