Life without Google? Just what Bing wants!
The latest news that Microsoft wants to build the world’s best search engine has arrived. Oh, sorry, it’s not the latest news, but it’s still true. Competition between the two tech giants is ongoing. The biggest player in the market is Google, and the rival is Microsoft. They, of course, want to overturn this status quo. The means to do so would be their own search engine, Bing. But why is this interesting for an entrepreneur? Perhaps our online habits are changing.
Everyone uses Google. Maybe you don’t know anyone who doesn’t. In fact, we’ve even turned the brand name into a verb in most of the world’s languages. If you look at the popularity and usage of search engines around the world, you’ll see that Google is the first. China is an exception, but the internet works differently there. So Google has a monopoly, which is the most you can achieve in a market. The Bing announcement is very promising. The most promising part of the announcement are the improvements. It’s that what’s new is that search itself – core business – won’t be any better! It simplifies our lives, but it’s not the functionality that’s better, it’s the user experience (UX)!
More than a search engine
Google has long been more than just a search engine. The owner now offers users a mail system, office services, an online meeting platform and who knows what else. Revenue is generated from search, but also from the advertising platform. In other words, they have built a lot of services on top of their core business to generate revenue. If you compare it to Microsoft, the two companies are very similarly structured. Microsoft probably doesn’t want to build a wonderful search engine for you or me. Rather, it wants to attract advertising revenue based on search. Facebook and Google are currently taking a huge slice of that. And Microsoft gets what it gets. A little left over compared to its rivals.
UX above all
In 2023, we have reached the point where functionality is secondary, the primary focus is on what is going on in the customer’s mind while using the product or service. In search – of course – there is artificial intelligence (AI). But its role is to create images for users. In other words, ChatGPT is old news, boring if the AI only writes text. Now we want images from it, but that’s not so new. The system will include DALL-E, with which any of us can “draw” anything we like. You can of course try it out now, as we did. True, we’ll stick with the live, flesh-and-blood graphic artist. But the news value is high, as DALL-E was one of this year’s hits.
What's the point?
It’s a legitimate question, and one you’ve probably asked yourself by now. I don’t know, but it sounds promising. The marketing value is often more important than the reality of what is behind a development. And that works, as there are plenty of news sites around the world covering the announcement. Artificial intelligence is an exciting topic that is on everyone’s mind, so you can create news about it at any time. Even more promising is to say that this system is creating images that are already Instagram-ready. That means they can be posted instantly. Imagine sitting in your office and thinking you want to post something. Your desk is boring, no one cares. So you generate another photo. This one shows Paris, and the perfect post is ready. The simplest thing in the world, but what’s the point?
There is a useful part too
Thirdly, there’s another innovation in communication, perhaps the most useful of all. Bing will be able (and probably soon Google too) to generate infographics and flashcards from the information you search for. This is a particularly useful innovation, and although it too is mainly concerned with the customer experience. Still, we feel we are getting something from the search engine. It is likely to be useful for other than students. However, the most important and interesting element is again: this innovation is only the third in a series. This is not the product feature they want to appeal to customers. On the other hand, if Bing can overtake Google in the segment of students, they will be the default search engine for future consumers. In other words, the strategy is (could be) to build and educate a market, rather than trying to change entrenched habits.
World without Google
I don’t think that’s anything for Alphabet (the owner of Google) to worry about. This world will probably come, but not tomorrow and not the day after tomorrow. True, it has happened before in the first days of the Internet. In 1998, for example, Yahoo was the most popular home page worldwide. But they did not see much potential in the development of search engines. They saw success elsewhere, and outsourced the searches, after a while to Google. The partnership lasted until 2004, when, following an unsuccessful takeover attempt, the two sides parted ways. At that time Yahoo had 26 percent of the search market and Google 44 percent. Today, Google has a market share of over 90%.
But there's already Bard
Bing stole the show for a few moments. Because within 24 hours of their announcement, Google responded. They are waiting for testers to try Bard, which is intended to rival ChatGPT. It is only available in English for the time being, but in any case, interested users are already wondering what will make it better, prettier and more user-friendly. It is promised to be faster than its main rival, mainly because it will not respond in sole characters. No word yet on content. I recently tried out what ChatGPT can do. I used AI to write one of my slides for a presentation to small business owners. I wouldn’t say it was a success, but I was rewarded with a huge laugh. Because the system judged the interest rates available to small business owners in Hungary very differently from those who are playing the game for themselves. So, however fashionable it may be, it may not be the right answer to all questions. But of course it can be your help if you don’t have any good ideas to write about.
But what you can take away
If there’s one lesson you’d like to capture from this news scrum, it might be this. Right now, design and packaging are more important than what’s inside. We need a customer experience, even if it is a little less new. Charm me, give me an experience and I’ll be your consumer in no time. Position yourself high, show exclusivity in what you offer and I’ll advertise that I belong to you. But this is “just” marketing. It lasts until the customer tries your product or service. Returning customers are generated by the quality of service. Maybe you should pay attention to that too!