Here’s Bing‘s challenge: not just being incrementally better than Google at some things but being so much better (or at least different) that it convinces consumers to switch.Bing has come out with plenty of interesting features, but at the end of the day none of them are enough to convince customers to change heavily ingrained habits that make them go to Google first.
Enter New York startup Hunch. Hunch basically helps you make decisions. If you’re looking for a sweater or a book to read or something, it asks you questions and depending on your answers narrows it down to the thing you’re looking for. It uses pretty advanced AI as well as user generated items to do it. It works pretty magically.
Hunch’s grand vision is to create a “taste graph” of the world: map out the things that people like, so that it can suggest you things that people who like similar things also like.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is pitching Bing as a “decision engine” as opposed to a search engine. The idea is that it helps you pick and choose things faster and more easily than Google, which “just” helps you find information.
Sounds like a match made in heaven, right?
We’re thinking that with Bing’s massive user base, Hunch’s engine could generate not just search results, but actual suggestions, for plenty of search queries. That would help Bing stand out, and bring something radically new and useful to search.
The other reason why Hunch makes sense for Bing is because of Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook. The “likes” and Facebook’s social graph data are a gold mine for building a search engine. Some of that is already being baked into Bing, but in a small way. We think that Facebook’s social data with Hunch’s “taste graph” could yield really interesting, personalised search results. The social graph and the taste graph are two different things, but that’s the point: combining the two would bring more than the two separately.
For the first time, consumers would see that there’s something visibly, obviously different between Bing and Google, and they would have a real reason to switch. It’s not a guarantee that they would, but it would be a good start.
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