Like Mahdi Yusuf’s month-long foray using DuckDuckGo Farhad Manjoo spends a week with Bing. His first impressions were good:
The new Bing is like the old Google—your results are presented on a clean, uncluttered page consisting of a lot of links and a few unobtrusive ads.
But, like so many others, he realized how trapped in Google’s products he’d become:
The most striking thing about switching to Bing was how enmeshed I remained in the Google universe. During my week with Bing, I found myself reaching for lots of Google products beyond its Web search engine—Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Books, Google Scholar, Chrome, Picasa, and probably a few others I’m forgetting.
A few things strike me about these attempts to switch away from Google. First, good on Google for realizing that search wasn’t enough to “keep” people around. Manjoo himself said it was extremely simple to switch from one search engine to the next. Google building other applications, that you can use for free, really does mean you’re more likely to stick with Google search. Second, is that I think it stinks that when something is made well that the proceeding versions of it must get more and more obtrusive for it to be lucrative.
Google’s search results have gotten better and better and better over the last decade plus. But arguably the way they display those results has, in some ways, gotten worse.
It seems that since the launch of Wolfram|Alpha people are generally testing it rather than using it. Although, I’m willing to bet, there are people out there that are using this amazing service for doing actual research and are finding it altogether indispensable already.
Dave Winer tested it on a Friday night. He ran some pretty interesting tests ranging from a vanity search to queries about movies. His queries were interesting but I don’t think they are inline with what Wolfram|Alpha was built for. His searches were just that, searches. They weren’t comparisons, questions, or equations of any kind. While Wolfram|Alpha is perfectly capable of letting you know what 2001: A Space Odyssey is – it does a much better job at telling you how much money the movie made at the box office, or the weather the night the movie was released.
Amber Simmons decided to try to make Wolfram|Alpha fail by asking it some questions that she’s wondered about since childhood. Her results surprised her.
When I initially tested Wolfram|Alpha it was immediately after I had watched the screencast explaining what Wolfram|Alpha was built to do. I did a comparison search on Viddler and Brightcove, a search to figure out my ideal body weight, and one to figure out how many calories I’ll burn running that 5K every other day.
The jury is still out on how I will use Wolfram|Alpha but I do not underestimate its abilities nor it’s teams abilities to adapt the tool for nearly anything you need. I’m very much looking forward to the future of this product.
Ms. Dewey is a search engine that has a good-looking woman pestering you while you search. Devin hits the nail on the head with his review of Ms. Dewey.
[tags]ms. dewey, devin reams, review, search engine[/tags]