The power of a name change

 bing

Microsoft, the laughing-stock of the browser/open source software community, finally came out with a new search engine. To those who follow tech news and trends, this isn’t exactly surprising as the story has been on for a while now – as far back as November 2008.

When Techcrunch covered the story about the rebrand (and the project codename: Kumo), readers scoffed at what seemingly looked like Microsoft trying to beat a dead horse. A few examples:

Changing name is an interesting idea but does NOTHING to solve their fundamental problem, the lack of vision in Search to begin with. Google has its flaws, paying people to search and other marketing ploys do nothing to help get users using your platform over the long run. This is nothing but a stunt that will lead them to loose even more market share (even if they do buy Yahoo).

Jon

Most of Microsoft’s users are the 35+ year-old that sit in cubicles and freaked out when Hotmail changed its interface. These people fear change, forcing them into something new is just begging them to try something else.

– John

Changing its name so that people switch to Microsoft services (search) from google is ridiculous.

The answer lies in the search results shown by either Live/Kumo or google. If Microsoft would really like people to use its services

And having a name like “Kumo” (which doesn’t make sense until i google it) doesn’t help either

Aman

Why exactly am I reposting these comments? Because these commenters predicted the complete opposite of what is happened yesterday. The responses on Techcrunch’s post yesterday showed that not only did people find the results a bit more relevant than Google’s results, but that many of TC’s readers will now use Bing as their primary search engine. Yes, Bing is Kumo in a live form. ;)

This brings me to the very reason behind this article. It’s a pity live.com now redirects to bing.com. I actually wanted to prove how similar Bing’s results are to Live’s. My point is the fact that people are all over Bing’s search results relevance means they never actually tried out Live. The single reason for them trying out Bing is because Microsoft was smart enough to give Live.com a new name and a new face.

Sure, they threw in a slew of new features such as Bing-411, better image & video search, etc. Everyone would agree that no one would bother about those new features if not for the name change.

11 thoughts on “The power of a name change”

  1. someone actually posted this last november
    Kumo, Live, Mojave… whatever…

    As long as its made from M$, its gonna be at least crappy.. My Vista O.S. (the last product I ever bought from M$) just killed my hard drive about a month ago…

    Live search produces pathetic search results, it doesn’t even begin to compare with Google…

    M$ is dying…

    LOL. Yea right!

  2. This has nothing to do with the “power of a name change”. It’s the power of search results that don’t suck. The power of not sucking.

    The reason people are having a different reaction to bing is simple: bing is a good search engine. It’s also a horrible, horrible, name.

    Ask Chandler Bing.

    1. The problem is you didnt read my post, especially the fourth paragraph. I used Live and the search results I got for certain queries were so much similar to Bing’s.

      On what basis did Live’s search results suck exactly? Bing’s approach to search wasn’t to beat Google by providing more relevant results. It was to put their index to good use and guide users to find results faster. Little wonder Microsoft calls it a “decision engine”.

      The reality is that Microsoft rebranded their search property, and suddenly, everyone is comparing its results with Google’s. And FYI, Yahoo sucked as a name back in the 90s too. ;)

  3. When they rebranded search.msn.com as live.com it did not help them, even though live.com is a good name. When they rebranded live.com as bing.com people checked it out so they could make fun of Microsoft again, but this time they were pleasantly surprised.

    I guess you are right to say the name change prompted people (tech journalists, to be specific) to check out the search engine again, but they would just have mocked it if the results weren’t better than the results of live.com the last time they checked.

    If your product sucks, a name change will lead to more mockery. If your product is good, then you can promote it without a name change.

    Name changes are very costly and not worth it unless the old name is bad and the new name is much better.

    MS changed from a good name (live.com) to a bad name (bing.com). I don’t think this is an example to be followed.

    1. Seun, while I agree with you about the fact that a new name to the same product doesn’t do much, I would say I’ve been a live search user and in recent times, I appreciated it results more and more till it became a replacement for Google to me in some cases. Unfortunately, people were quick to bash the search engine at any available opportunity because they didnt really use it to know how improved its algorithms are. Then came bing, and everything changed.

      Regarding which name is better, I would still gladly go with Bing. One reason is because Bing can be both a noun (name of the search engine) and a verb (using the search engine), just like Google. Then, the fact that live is a generic name actually tarnishes the brand. You can tell someone you use google and everyone knows what you are talking about. You cant say that about Live. its too generic for such a purpose.

      Infact, anyone who says he ‘lived’ a query online could be sent to asylum. He/she could have said ‘binged’ and everyone would be happy.

  4. @xolubi dont be to quick to say people are accepting bing.com its not even a few months and you are concluding.
    Bing might have better search results but Google.com is not only about search results anymore. it takes beyond that to beat Google. EXAMPLE: Linux is better (Ubuntu) or even MAC systems are better than MS Windows consoles but why dont we all switch. Man a brand that becomes a habit, needs to be changed by another habit and Google is not sleeping so Microsoft should invest in other startups that want to do search and forget it, cos they are not going to make it

    1. I never said Bing will beat Google and I never will. I’m just talking about the positive press for Bing compared with the negative press for Live even when Live results since at least January have been as relevant.

  5. well bing.com like cuil.com has this effect because its challenging Google. ask Fifty cent why he was happy when Jay-Z responded to his diss, and why Eminem keeps dissing stars. if you challenge a big brand, alot of people will talk about you. So its not about bing its realy about Google.

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