Whilst Google celebrated the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel, with a Google Doodle today, Bing paid homage to Moon day which celebrates today as the 42nd anniversary of when mankind first landed on the Moon.
The gorgeous photos that we are accustomed to seeing everyday on Bing often seem to be without rhyme or reason, but in every case, they highlight different features of the Bing interface. The glowing hotspots that appear on the image lead to different facets of the search engine and suggest searches that can be performed.
If you explore today's Moon Day anniversary picture, you will find some great curiosities such as:
- A list in Bing Images of all the first men on the Moon.
- Images of where mankind might land next, namely Mars
- A link to Bing Music showcasing various versions of Frank Sinatra's Song, "Fly me to the Moon".
- A link to the Bing Video search, showcasing a YouTube video of the first astronauts singing on the moon:
Google Doodles Vs Bing Homepage
Just like Google Doodles are a cause for curiosity, increasingly so are Bing's homepage photo choices. At Search Engine Watch (SEW) we first noticed that the photos seemed to have more bearing on current events than previously when an amazing picture of every stage of a solar eclipse was published. This photo came ahead of Google's extremely popular interactive Doodle which covered the lunar eclipse 15 days later. Whilst Bing's homepage image did not shout about the event, it turned out that it was prescient and heralded a partial solar eclipse that was due to occur that night.
Clearly we were not the only ones to notice that Bing homepages were becoming not just more exciting, but more relevant. A recent article by Fast Company investigated how Bing chooses their daily home page pictures. Author Austin Carr, spoke to the managing editor of Bing, Stephanie Horstmanshof, and found out that she meets weekly with her team to discuss the photos for the week.
The article is enlightening for SEW because, personally speaking, our team has been wondering (for awhile now) about how the images are chosen. Too often we have dismissed them as random, or at least those that are most provocative or best illustrate some of the features in Bing - which often they do. According to Horstmanshof, the goal of the homepage "is that it makes you want to find out more about it."
Given that 2011 has been the most active year yet for Google Doodles, it's great to see that Bing does have an editorial strategy behind their choice of homepage picture choices. Particularly, as one can't shake the feeling that whilst Google may have pioneered the concept of a decorated logo, some credit seems due to Bing for taking the concept a stage further by changing the background every single day. Ultimately, it is really Bing that is charging ahead with the idea of curated search, and by that token, inspiring curiosity and driving discovery.
However, Google still pips Bing to the punch by making fantastic choices in what it commemorates and puts its titanic weight behind (given there are a plethora of things to draw attention too on a daily basis). When Google honored Rosa Parks instead of World Aids day it caused a storm of controversy. However, it rallied web users around an idea that was relevant and needed to be explored - everyone was blogging about it and on SEW it was our second highest traffic, if not the most commented, post of the year. Now that is what I call discovery!
Whilst, personally speaking, I feel that there are still some room to improve in how effective the Bing homepage can really be in generating buzz, I think I have seen enough anecdotal evidence to say that they are pressing forward in the right direction. If they keep pushing relevancy and currency, Bing will find themselves increasingly as part of the online blogger buzz that one Google Doodle can create.
To that end, I hope Bing will consider giving their homepage pictures a special name that we can refer to. Yet, more importantly, I look forward to more frequent occasions like today's, in which, the image and destination choices not only make me what to "find out more about it", but also challenge me enough to make me want to find out why I need to know more about it.