When you search for something on the Internet, do you use tools that know what you’re looking for? Search Engines hope so, both because they maximize advertising revenue by guessing correctly and because by getting what you want right they convince you you’re using the best search engine.
Bing wants you to stop relying on them to decide what you want to see.
Bing has rolled out something called Editor’s Picks, claiming that this feature is smarter than plain search. And I guess I like the idea of having a seamless gateway to information that’s been cultivated for you by some expert authority— preferably human—rather than search engine software. But that’s where the idea of Bing Editor’s Picks breaks down.
First, let’s be clear that the way Bing operates is via curated search rather than the plain, brute-force methodology employed by Google. I explained a bit of that in this post on Bing’s alleged copying of Google, early this year. So if Bing is already tweaking results to be more meaningful than natural search engine algorithms can manage, why complicate the issue further by hiring people to be “experts”?
The answer is simple; if someone like me prefers human experts to software bots guessing at what I want, it’s a pretty good bet that people who trust search engines less feel even more strongly. But then … why use Bing at all? Why not use software or a web site like FindTheBest.com?
Because FindTheBest is too hard to use; you need to be looking for something that’s already in its database; starting at Bing and then getting your search engine results pared down by experts makes more sense—as long as it’s automatic.
Bing claims that Bing Editor’s Picks will pop up results as you search, but as you can see even this search for “Thanksgiving Recipes”, which Bing specifically states should work with Bing Editor’s Picks, didn’t when I tried it out:
So let’s call it what it is: If you’re searching and need results that you feel are more trustworthy than a computer program can supply, wouldn’t you rather use your own experience as a guide?
Search is a complicated game. That’s the reason businesses need help with their Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. Making it simpler is a great thing, but so far Bing Editor’s Picks feels like it’s just adding an extra layer to search with no payoff. At that level, you might as well trust AOL.