I’ve just read through some great blog posts and articles on Bing—the name as well as expectations for the upcoming Microsoft “decision engine.” Opinions on the name are all over the map, with (mostly) negative opinions led by naming professionals like those at Snark Hunting and Pollywog. I love the bitter sarcasm over at Snark Hunting, and they make a funny point comparing Bing (“ping” with a “B”) to Zune (“tune” with a “Z”). But one of the earliest lessons I learned about naming (or writing taglines, etc.) is that it’s easy—often too easy—to pick on someone else’s work. Or, to put it more bluntly, to dislike it because it’s not your own.
I like the name. Maybe partly because I’ve tried to help create names for search engines before, and I know how challenging it is (must be very short, pronounceable worldwide, available as a prima facie domain, and preferably “verbable”). But here Microsoft has found a four-letter word that’s easy to pronounce, easy to remember, and, in my opinion, evokes exactly what they want it to—a quick, successful search (not that this idea differentiates it from Google, however). Some articles go to great lengths trying to guess what the name means, but it’s clear that it’s intended to mean ‘success,’ as in “Bing! — here it is” (a quote from Microsoft’s letter about the site). I don’t really see a need for all the complaining about the name.
In fact, let’s conserve some of our energy in case we want to complain about the product itself. It hasn’t even launched yet, and I’m already wondering how Microsoft will manage to take something that’s supposed to simplify our lives and make it overcomplicated. Microsoft may be able to outspend Google, and perhaps even outsmart them, but when it comes to making something easy…let’s just say I’ll probably still be Googling—not Binging—advice on how to get my Windows PC to stop freezing.
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