Microsoft is going on the offensive. And they’re not just targeting Google Search, they’re targeting Gmail, Google Docs, and Chrome as well with their “Putting People First” ad campaign.
Given Google’s stumbles, Microsoft’s timing is right. But these battles ultimately are ultimately still about the products themselves. It’s not enough to say you’re better, you have to actually be better to make users switch. And in the case of something like search, you have to be so much better that it’s noticeable beyond a doubt.
Despite what Microsoft may think and say, Bing isn’t there yet. And I’m not sure they’ll ever get by conventional means. But they do have a very real opportunity right now — not by getting better, but by Google getting worse. Which sounds absurd, but it’s happening.
For their part, Google is attempting to counter these ads with their own ads. Which, unlike the Microsoft ads, are not a good idea. If you’re trying convince me that your privacy and data changes aren’t bad, the absolute last thing I’m going to believe is a paid advertisement.