Those who side with one search engine or another are often passionately devoted, almost religiously so, to their medium of choice. These people preach the benefits of Google/Bing/Blekko with fervor, speaking of the changing times (“the end is nigh”) that will make all other options obsolete. While some of us do keep a level head, and get annoyed when these individuals or groups ignore the obvious benefits of the different search sites, there’s no shortage of people willing to preach. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the most devoted Bing enthusiasts is Stefan Weitz, director of Bing search. Weitz claims that Google’s approach was once great, but that the very idea of content search is now outdated.
Let’s take a moment to define what he’s talking about when he says “content search.” The core results of any SERP, be it from Google or Bing or anyone else, will be populated with blue links and summaries of what the page will contain. These links are brought to the SERP based on the popularity of the site (as indicated by the number of inbound links) and a giant boat full of other algorithmic factors. The Google model is based on the idea that people are coming to search to find things.
Weitz disagrees. He thinks that, while Google was absolutely right back in 98 when they hit the market, even in the early 2000s, the modern web is not about locating information or resources. Rather, it’s about doing things. There are widgets and help utilities on Bing and Google, but Bing is pushing far more for catalogue pages, specialized services, social interaction, and additional, non-content resources. “Our mission is literally to deliver knowledge by understanding intent,” stated Weitz, and the presumable intent is to accomplish what these Bing pages allow.
Weitz isn’t the only one making this claim. Vivek Wadhwa, the man who unleashed a maelstrom of anti-Google-spam hate early this year, has been saying much the same thing. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I differ with these groups. I like having content resources at my fingertips. I know how to find them, I know how to evaluate them, and it lets me choose which resource I want rather than relying on embedded services inside search engines. What about you? Are you old-fashioned like me or do you believe in an action-oriented revolution in search?
[via Google Watch]