http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwRCBHhyrAA (Borrowing the title from a very memorable (very annoying to some) TV advertisement by Toyota.)
Just having one of those days which I feel like trying something different. So I switched my default search engine to Bing today. Maybe the plain simple input box is getting a bit too boring, or because it is often blocked here in China, whatever the reason, just want to try another service.
I don’t hate Google, I have been using it since I stopped using Yahoo! and Altavista over a decade ago. I might switch back in a week or so, or try yet another search engine. The point here is about trying something different, it can help to confirm that the choice of using Google is still smart and to gain hands-on experience with Bing to compare and learn. The search market has long been “won” by Google if being the most popular is the goal, it doesn’t mean there cannot be room for innovation and competition. Bing, including powering Yahoo! search, depending on which source you quote, can be up to 30% of the search market, that’s not a small proportion in real terms. I am guessing they must be doing something well, so I am keen to find out more about it.
Reminding myself that the switching cost is very low and the true reason I don’t use Bing can simply be my own laziness to try it. Some say prior experience and comfort can mean higher efficiency and productivity, but such reliance and inadaptability on any technology can also pose a bigger risk to business growth. Unlike switching hardware platforms where the monetary cost can often be the main influence to the decision, there is nothing wrong with staying with an open mind in the current freemium dominated world. Try before you buy, there are many freebies out there. Just remember that there is no free lunch forever.
Sidenote: When I mentioned about the monetary cost being the main influence, I think it is easy to come up with a long list of possible reasons to justify anything, but being truly honest to identify the root cause is not that difficult either. Imagine if we can remove the monetary cost factor in a scenario for the smartphone market where customers can switch freely from one to another at no cost, will there really be as many Android users or will most people choose to have an iPhone? But of course, to look at the wider picture, without such cost factor to sort customer into different market segments (label it all you will, rich and poor, price-sensitivity, all the MBA speak.), Apple might not be able to attract as many app developers to make money on their platform. We can list out the top factors, make up different scenarios for different combination of these factors and answer them clearly. For Apple in general, I believe that their focus on the best product for the top end of the market is the main factor of their wider success.