I’ve had Google as my home page for some time, now. But as of today, I’m switching it to Bing, Microsoft’s revamped Search. I don’t know if I’ll keep Bing as my home page. But the very fact they got me to switch marks an accomplishment for Microsoft.
Why? Well, because they got a user to make the effort to change their home page. And I think I’m fairly typical of tech-saavy users. But in some ways, I’m even harder to convince than others might be.
I worked at Microsoft for thirteen years, and contracted there last year. But I’ve kept Google as my home page, despite that. Even when I contracted in Microsoft’s online advertising team, I didn’t change my home page. I would frequently have to project during meetings, and up would come Google. It sometimes elicited boo’s and hisses, but that didn’t deter me. Just like it didn’t stop me from buying a Palm instead of Microsoft’s equivalent, back when PDAs were gaining ground. Pulling out my Palm wasn’t something that endeared me to my more coporate-thinking co-workers.
But I’ve always been of the philosophy that Microsoft has to earn my loyalty and purchasing dollars, just like they do from any other consumer. At the time I bought my Palm, Palm had it nailed. Their UI was hands-down better than what Microsoft had to offer. They’d just gotten it right. As a UX person, as well as a consumer, that’s what counted to me. Especially in a PDA. So, Microsoft didn’t earn my dollars, whether I worked for them or not.
When I got those boos and hisses last year, that’s exactly what I told my co-workers. “When you get me to switch from Google, then you’re getting somewhere. As far as I’m concerned, Microsoft has to earn it, just like everyone else. I’m your target customer.”
That’s one of the ways that I keep myself honest. It’s too easy when you work for a company to get wrapped up in their PR and lose your perspective. In the kind of work I do (UX, product management/business strategy, and even tech writing), it’s really important to keep the customer’s perspective as much as possible. I try to keep some distance and be intellectually honest with myself, as much as any human being is really capable of that.
So, it is an accomplishment that Bing got me to give them a try. Why am I doing it? Mainly, it’s because I’m a big Twitter user and I like some of the things I’m seeing Bing do with Twitter. I’ve heard rumors of some even bigger Twitter integration coming very soon. That excites me, and is enough enticement for me to give Bing a try.
In addition, I kind of like how Bing looks. Maybe I’m just tired of Google because I’ve seen their screen every day for so long. But I like Bing’s graphics and UI. And so far, the search results I’m getting are fine. Of course, that’s the real deciding factor. So, I’m switching my home page, but whether it stays on Bing is still TBD. Let’s see if they can earn my loyalty, too.
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