Hey everyone, have you heard that there’s some browser called Bing? It’s new, it’s cool, it’s got all the shit that your boring old Google can’t do! Bing does what Google don’t!
At least that’s what Microsoft wants you to think.
Bing has begun to roll out some stupid social media add-ons in an pathetic attempt to one up Google. See, Google has poorly integrated their Google+ bullshit into your Google search results and now Microsoft is playing the “me too” game by integrating Facebook and Twitter results from your friends into your searches. They want your eyes to view their ads because they see what Google did and they want a piece of the pie. And since Microsoft hasn’t pissed off Facebook and Twitter the way Google did (because they launched Google+ and locked the other guys out) they’re allowed to get away with this.
The only problem is that no one uses Bing. In addition to being a proper noun, Google is now a verb. No matter how much money Microsoft throws at advertisements, no one goes around saying “you should Bing it.” The actual numbers break down to about 67% of US users are searching via Google and only about 16% of Americans are using Bing. I guess the other 17% are using Dogpile.
The other only problem is that asking your friends for recommendations is a wholly different mental process than searching for information online. When you want to know what your friends think, you ask them. When you want to know what society at large thinks, you Google it (or search via Bing for it if you’re 16% of America). If I’m searching the internet for something specific, the last place I want to turn to is my friends that don’t know shit and aren’t the authority on the topic. Now, one of my friends might have every line of the original Star Trek TV show memorized and can recite them to me in Klingon, but when I’m looking quickly for something about Star Trek, I’m not going to ask him. I’ll search Google.
The biggest concern I have for the future of the internet is that we’re quickly becoming a society that trusts the words of our friends over real truth. As I said in my article (linked above) about Google creating an insular internet, it’s irresponsible to let people only experience their own corner of the internet. When people’s minds can be opened by things their tight knit community of friends have never been exposed to, that is the true power of the internet. Instead, we’re letting these companies warp our brains into thinking that we’re correct about this or that simply because when we search it, we see several results that think similarly to us because they’re all recommended by our friends who share our views. Exposure to a multitude of possibly conflicting opinions is the only way to let people actually think for themselves and decide which of the opinions is more correct.