*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
As you guys know, this week I took the Bing Blogger Challenge for Alt Summit (we at APW love Alt Summit from the bottom of our heart, and Bing is sponsoring them this year, thank you Bing!). That means that all week, I used Bing as my search engine.
First, let me back up. It was recently pointed out to me that there are lots of people (people on the APW staff even!) that don’t really exactly remember the internet pre-Google. Which is crazy to me. I remember the exact moment I found out about this “crazy new site” Google, because it was literally the only search engine that had ever actually worked ever. (Me to David: Remember before? David: Ahahhaha Me: Like you’d find what you wanted on page five, if you had typed in ten of the precisely correct words?) Well this week I realized, that in my gratitude for finding a search engine that worked in 2000, it had sort of never occurred to me that there were now other search engines that worked, with totally different interfaces and advantages, and that these engines might have tools that were better than Google’s tools. Huh. Sometimes I’m dense.
So here is my experience of using Bing this week:
First up, breaking habits is always sort of strange. And it took me awhile to simply get used to a new interface. I’d type in a search, Bing would come up, and I’d spend a moment being shocked that the screen looked different. It’s weird to realize that you have this innate brand loyalty that you never even think about, and that breaking your habits actually rattles you. Apparently brands have a huge influence over my life, in ways I never consciously think about. But after those first few searches, I realized that Bing had tons of excellent tools.
Bing’s tag line and driving force is “Bing is For Doing.” Its focus is to get you the information that you need, right away, to do offline things. So as a result, their action-oriented searches were awesome for me. Let’s chat.
- Bing Travel: You guys. How did I not know about this? The magic thing is it lets you search flights, and then gives you a price predictor. Are prices moving up or down? Should you book now, or later? Huge. Money. Saver. Just, yes, you’re going to want to check that out (fittingly, we used it to research flights to Salt Lake for Alt).
- Searching restaurants on Bing: Bing has a three-column format. The main column gives you the main search results. The second column is what “Bing knows,” and for restaurants this is key. It will pull up the restaurant’s location on a map, give you the hours, give you a virtual tour (what? I know), and provide links to recent reviews. It gives you almost everything you need to know right on the search page, so you don’t have to fight with restaurants’ weird websites. Love.
- Social Search: The third column on the Bing search is the “social” search, which is what makes it totally different from Google (and perfect to search for things you want to do, like eat out or travel). You sign in with Facebook, and then, say, if I search “restaurants downtown Salt Lake City” for our Alt trip, it will fill in people I know on Facebook who live in Salt Lake, or have traveled there recently, for me to ask. It will also give me experts on Twitter who might be able to help, like prominent Salt Lake City food bloggers. It’s sort of perfect for all of my travel searches, for starters, though I’m sure you can find a million uses for it.
- Image Search: And then there is the Bing image search. It’s sortable, y’all! You can look for something, and then sort by black and white, or vertical, or head and shoulders images. The blogger in me wants to marry it.
Turns out, this week made me think a lot about how I interact with brands and the web. It made me more willing to seek out a better tool somewhere new, and break habits. It made me think about just how entrenched my habits are and how little I think about them.
So what about you? Did any of you try Bing this week? Did you take the Bing It On Challenge? (You should totally do that—it’s fun!) What were your experiences, positive or negative? And thanks to Alt Summit and Bing for sponsoring APW this week. You guys are awesome.
Photo: My Desk plus Bing