grumpy puppyby Bethaney Wallace


Bing! Bing! When I hear this form of onomatopoeia, I’m reminded of two things. One is an old fashioned cash register that is excited to accept payments. Each time an operator open its drawer, it bings loudly and proud—the kind of register that would have been in a candy store or soda shop. The second thing I’m reminded of is Chandler Bing, “Friends” character and joke enthusiast. A man who co-invented Fire Ball and became an unpaid intern in his late 30s. Neither of these things are something I would ask for advice, let alone help me make a decision. However, “Bing” is what Microsoft chose to name its so-called “decision engine.” Their search engine marketed to help users make decisions—from everyday ones like where to buy the cheapest potatoes, to epic ones, like which wedding venue to book. It’s like a little therapist packed into your computer. Congratulations Microsoft, you’re bringing the world one step closer to getting rid of deductive reasoning skills all together.

The first time I ever used Bing was by accident. I’ve never been much of a search engine-ist. They pretty much work the same: you type “How many colors are Peeps produced in?” or “How does Bill Gates celebrate his birthday?” And you are answered with a whole slew of articles that you are then forced to sort through. “Answers” such as biographies on Bill Gates, birthday supply discounts, and videos of live rap performances are among many topics that show up. Bing was no different. I still had to filter out all the advertisement sites feeding off SEO, and I still had to decide which color of Peep tasted best on my own. Bing wasn’t any better at making my decisions that I would expect a computer to be, i.e. not good. Their site was just more annoying—it constantly told me how helpful it was, encouraged me to watch tutorials so that I might better use their site. It assured me it was much more user-friendly than other search engines, and it was making my life much easier. Using Bing was like listening to the smart kid in class explaining just how easy last night’s calculus homework was. I wanted to kick both of their asses.

People don’t care about advertisements, or if your slogan is decision-based. They care whose search engine works like they say it will. Type in “best search engine” into Bing’s tool bar and what comes up? An add for Google. Is Google’s search engine actually the best? Probably not. But it doesn’t constantly shove its greatness down my throat, like a self-righteous tongue depresser. The ad states “search with Google,” not “decide”—which is really all I’ve ever wanted in life: a search engine who is honest.