Do You Use Bing as a Verb?

    September 2, 2009
    Chris Crum

Cedric Chambaz, a Marketing Manager at Microsoft, wrote an interesting post on the Microsoft Advertising Blog about the use of Bing as a verb, and more generally, whether it’s a good idea or not for any brand to want to be used generically for its industry.

Remember when people started using Google as a verb? Google initially wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, but they seem to have accepted it now. There’s not much you can do to stop people from using the word that way.

Apparently there are people using "Bing" as a verb, although I haven’t really heard this one thrown around in real life yet. Chambaz ponders whether or not this is a concept that should be embraced.

Cedric Chambaz"On the one hand it is a great proof of consumer endorsement, but on the other hand there is a thin line between being a dominant brand and becoming a mere generic verb," says Chambaz. "Because ultimately marketers are keen on top of mind, as long as it translates into preference."

"What if suddenly customers were to describe the positive consumption of your competitor’s product by using your brand," he adds. "You would be commoditized, and your brand would lose its value."

I think Bing has a long way to go before it has to worry about becoming the generic verb for searching. "Googling" has pretty well been ingrained in the minds of consumers (at least the ones who use the term at all. I prefer "searching" myself). Even if Bing manages to get close to Google’s market share or (dare I say) even overtake it, are people suddenly going to start saying "Bing it" in place of "Google it?"

It’s hard to say. Puffs is a major tissue brand, but they are still often referred to as "Kleenexes". You don’t often hear, "Could you please hand me a Puff, so I can blow my nose?"

It could be different with search engines, as users clearly see that big brand name every time they perform a search. My gut is telling me that searching on Google will remain "Googling," and searching on Bing will remain "Binging" or simply "searching on Bing" for the majority of searchers. And frankly, I don’t anticipate hearing "Bing" used as a verb too often in the foreseeable future, outside perhaps of search industry-related conversation.

Do you use Bing as a verb? Let us know.