Microsoft created a refined, full-spec search engine—but to take on the giants in the space they needed a fresh and unexpected name.
Microsoft needed a name for a new search engine product catered to savvy tech users—one that was smarter, able to find more relevant links and information. With Google and Yahoo the top names in the search market, they needed to stand out.
The name had to be short, easy to say, and of course memorable. Most of all, it had to be easily associated with search immediacy and visual aggregation. “Bing” quickly rose to the top. Bing mimics the universal sound that usually suggests an idea (like a light bulb) or when something is ready, or done. Finally, there’s the more common association with the bing cherry—large and sweet. It was a uniquely resonant word, completely new to Microsoft and unlike any of their existing properties. It is easy to say in almost any language—and in contrast to Google, which references a very large number—“Bing” references the immediacy of the results that are relevant to you.
In 2009 Bing was voted “Best New Brand” by Advertising Age and “Best Start Up” by TechCrunch. In a year and a half, brand awareness rose from 13 percent to 55 percent. Today, there are 14 billion searches using Bing each month.