This morning, Microsoft employees demonstrated a long list of enhancements to their Bing search engine at a press event at the company's San Francisco office.
That office is next door to the city's newest, splashiest, most expensive shopping center, the Westfield, and after sitting through the Bing demo, I'm sure Microsoft parked its employees next to a mall on purpose. Many new Bing improvements, such as maps with interactive driving directions, are mere catch-up to what Google has done for years. But others, driven by heavy market research aimed at finding ways Google is missing the mark, show how very much the kind of people who use the Internet has changed since a few years ago.
In short, the people who use search engines today are nothing like the people who build them. Online, the normals have finally displaced the geeks.