Last week I spend some time at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond where you enter an all Bing world. You immediately feel guilty using Google Chrome with iGoogle as your dashboard. This combined with the zillion rumors that Bing will power search on the next iPhone I decided to use Bing for a while. I stopped using Internet Explorer when Microsoft moved the home button from top left to top right somewhere, but lets just forget an move on and stick to Internet Explorer too for a while.
It was not very easy to stick to Bing, mainly because I use Gmail, Google Reader, Google Apps, Buzz and this blog is hosted by Blogger. Google is very good in linking the various products and providing search always available at your finger tips. Try to ignore the huge search boxes and use a small search box in the browser. Sticking to Internet Explorer was impossible, because there is no Mac version. For this reason I switched to Firefox on the Mac for a while.
The first test was a ego search... and it showed pretty good results. This was a huge improvement compared to eight months ago just after launch. The only thing I really didn't understand why Bing put me at first in Australia. If you are not aware this might give strange results. I manually changed this to United States to best compare with Google.com in English.
Conclusions on a week of search experience. The search results are good enough for me, however the search results are not really that important for the overall experience! The convenience and availability of searching makes the difference.
1. Mail and RSS are my most used applications in a day, Google offers me web applications that make it very convenient to search the web directly from these application. This is an area where Microsoft can still improve the accessibility of search.
2. While working on a document or presentation you need background information and uses search to find it, wouldn't it be nice if you don't need to leave your favorite editor for this?
3. I've tried to explain to my 70+ year old dad and first time computer user that at the Internet (the browser) you use the large entry box when you know a 'www' address and use the small entry box if you want to search something. This concept didn't get understand. For the Internet Explorer 9 team, and Apple Safari team (if you ever listen) please copy the Google Omnibox, because that matches the users way of thinking.
What will I do? I keep using Bing on my non default browsers for a while. The possible Apple - Bing deal for the next iPhone will not move me to Android. Actually I'm more interested in the Windows Phone.
I'll Bing along a bit more...