Wired's Ryan Singel and Cnet's Rafe Needleman, neither of whom is known to get giddy over technology, also gave Bing a qualified seal of approval. Like Sterling, Singel says Bing is a lot better than Live Search but not exactly a Google replacement.
"But the service is far from perfect," he writes. "Beautiful data mash-ups coexist side-by-side with perplexing interface choices that make it hard to find the best features. Meanwhile, actual search results were inaccurate in some cases, and disappointing overall in the local search category, one of the areas Microsoft hopes to make its biggest splash."
Rafe's overall conclusion? "Much better than expected."
See, this is what happens when you spend 25 years lowering people's expectations. Something that merely works as advertised is considered a breakthrough. Yet another brilliant marketing ploy by those renegades from Redmond.
I know what you're thinking. What's the catch? Well, this may be the catch. As Tom Spring notes: "Bing's Quick Tabs feature often steered me to Microsoft services such as Bing Shopping, Bing Travel, MSN Autos, and Bing health information. It may be that those Bing sites offer the best content, but I get suspicious of any search engine that habitually gives its own links precedence over others'."
Hey listen. I'm looking forward to giving Bing a spin myself, once they get around to letting second-class citizens like me in the door (that's supposed to happen on Wednesday, June 3). I'd be happy to add a new search decision tool to my quiver of web arrows, even if it comes with an MSFT logo.
Just remember, it's not a Google killer, it's a Google loofah sponge - designed to gently exfoliate while enhancing your online decision making. Just don't use it in the shower.