What do Excite, Lycos, and Ask Jeeves have in common with the new Bing.com search engine? They all had flashy brand building commercials that tried to paint their search engines as more than just technology. They were supposed to be emotional, etherial, existential, plus any other "e" word you can think of. Remember Excite's "Have You Been Experienced" ads featuring Jimi Hendrix's song? Now what do Excite, Lyocs, and Ask Jeeves also have in common? As search engines, they're all garbage and except for Ask Jeeves, largely out of the search business (Ask Jeeves to follow shortly). How many television ads have you seen for Google? Maybe there's something to be said about concentrating your resources on building the best technology instead of hiring the best ad agency.
For those who don't know, Bing.com is Microsoft's newly launched search engine. I've tried it and it's not bad. It's not great, but it's far from the crappy search results that Live.com spit out. Plus they have some interesting features like the image search and video search. But Microsoft as of late seems to be all about the glitz and marketing as opposed to the real technology. With all the money at their disposal why not hire the best and the brightest engineers and have them build the best search engine possible? It makes me wonder whether all the money has made them complacent. It's always easier to throw money at an ad agency then to actually sit down and do the work.