Bing Keeps on Trying

May 21, 2018

Ah, Bing.

Microsoft has struggled to garner the respect in the search engine world that its software has commanded.

Bing is often seen as the Avis to Google’s Hertz. Maybe a stepchild of the search game patriarchs, Sergey and Larry.

Microsoft is not blind to these views, which is resulting in some interesting innovations to close the gap between it and Google. We learned about these steps from a recent TechRadar story, “Microsoft Unveils New Features for Bing in Bid to Make You Switch from Google.”

The biggest upgrade? The fact that Bing now gives you an “Intelligent Answer” and not just the one that ranks first. It seems like a good move, which the article highlights:

“We’re pleased to see Microsoft attempt to win over users by adding more features (which you can read about more on the Bing blog), rather than trying to strong-arm people who use Windows 10 into using the search engine, but will this be enough to make people switch?”

We’re going to go out on a (not very long) limb and suggest, no. This isn’t enough to make people switch. That’s especially true when we see news like this, that claims that Google’s Assistant is the most accurate. Looks like the game board is shifting beneath Microsoft’s feet as they try to catch up. How does one find information available on the Internet?

One doesn’t without recourse to commercial systems from vendors with low or zero profile among consumers. Money is required to find relevant information. Free stuff returns what earns money to pay for the “free lunch.”

Patrick Roland, May 21, 2018

Give Bing a Chance

January 5, 2018

Google is still the most popular web search engine by far, but should we be giving Bing a closer look? Editor Anmol at the admittedly Microsoft-centric blog MSPowerUser explains, “Why I Prefer Bing Over Google (And You Should Too).” He begins with a little history:

Formerly called as MSN Search, Windows Live Search or Live Search, Bing was unveiled by former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer on May 28th, 2009 and went live on June 3rd. 2009.  Since then, Microsoft is showing its commitment to Bing as an Internet Search Engine rivalling the dominant giant Google. With Windows 8.1, Bing was deeply integrated with the OS with what was called ‘Smart Search’ and this was accessible from the Start Screen. But now a Search Engine is not used ‘just as a search engine.’ Now we use these services to find coffee places around us, book cabs, book movie tickets and more.

True. So why does the author think Bing is best? First, Bing integrates with the very useful Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant and, second, it is available across operating systems. Though others might disagree, Anmol feels Bing’s actual search results are as good as Google’s and, besides, it makes some good predictions. Here are the other strengths Anmol cites: a more appealing home page, the Microsoft rewards program, integration with Facebook Messenger, strong local search, package tracking, a capable image-search function, and its advanced math skills. Bing even seems to understand the needs of developers better than Google does. See the write-up for elaboration, including screenshots, on each of these points.

Anmol concludes:

Above are all that I think made me switch to Bing and are keeps me staying. All these features are brought together to life with advanced machine learning algorithms and years of research and hard work. As Microsoft is a productivity-focused Software giant, Bing is something that drives a large part of its revenue by conquering a large amount of market share. Because of their success already I can only see Microsoft offering even tougher competition to its largest rival Google.

Cynthia Murrell, January 5, 2018


Bing Feverishly Tries to Catch Google

December 18, 2017

Google’s kid brother, Bing, has been trying to get the world’s attention basically since its inception. However, the king of search is a tough one to upstage. Bing thinks it has a bright idea on how to best Google, as we discovered in a recent eWeek story, “Microsoft Bing Delivers More ‘Birdseye’ Views of Points of Interest.”

According to the story, Bing thinks the answer lies in their mapping option,

Bird’s Eye uses oblique imagery processing technology to provide detail-packed views that can help travelers navigate their surroundings by sight.


Oblique imagery is a great complement to Aerial 2D imagery because it has much more depth and provides a view of your destination that is more familiar and in line with what people expect,” stated Microsoft Bing staffers in a blog post. “You can see Bird’s Eye imagery in Bing Maps, and this view can offer a better context for navigation because building facades can be used as landmarks.

It’s admirable that Bing is trying to outdo Google, but more detailed maps are probably not the way to go about it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to search power and Bing just doesn’t have it. Google has such a foothold in the market that the competition looks pretty silly by comparison, like how Firefox and Yahoo recently sued one another.

Patrick Roland, December 18, 2017

Voice Search: Bing vs Google

November 3, 2017

We all know that Microsoft’s Bing has struggled to compete with Google Search. Will voice search level the field? Search Engine Watch ponders, “How Does Bing’s Voice Search Compare to Google’s?” Writer Clark Boyd acknowledges it does not seem Bing will eclipse Google as a whole anytime soon, but points to Microsoft’s new partnership with Amazon’s Alexa as evidence of change. The article delves into specifics about Microsoft’s voice-search technology, mostly with details on Cortana but also citing the voice search now found in their Edge browser. It also examines the company’s apparent strategy, which involves that partnership with Amazon and integration into popular platforms like Spotify.

Boyd next examines specific differences between the companies’ voice searches. For example, he states Cortana is better at understanding his Irish accent, and Cortana’s tie-in with Windows lends efficiency to task management. It is Boyd’s analysis of context, though, that I found most interesting. He writes:

When a user is logged in across Windows products, Cortana can serve accurate contextual results. See below for an example of the same phrase [“who are Leeds playing today?”] searched by voice on a Windows laptop using Cortana and Google. The differences are slight but telling. Cortana knows that I am currently in Spain (I am using a Windows laptop), and therefore provides the kick-off in my local time. Google is not privy to this information and serves the result in Eastern Time, as my account is based in the US. When results default to Bing, it all gets a little hairier. I follow up by asking who will be in the starting lineup and receive a bizarre result about the USA soccer team, a news story about a Leeds starting lineup from three years ago, and some news about the Leeds music festival. Google does a better job of this, but both lack the immediacy that integration with a social media feed would provide.


This same pattern plays out across a wide range of travel, weather, and commercial queries. When Cortana can pull an immediate answer, it does so very capable; when it resorts to providing a list of search results from Bing, the quality varies. Google, therefore, represents a much more consistent, reliable option.

Those last two sentences serve the differences in a nutshell. The article concludes with a handy graphic that compares and contrasts Microsoft’s and Google’s voice search pros, cons, and other differences. Will an alliance with Amazon help Bing narrow the distance between it and Google Search? Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, November 3, 2017


Bing out, Google in for Siri and Spotlight

October 26, 2017

Was it only a matter of time? Softpedia News reports, “Apple Replaces Microsoft’s Bing with Google for Siri and Spotlight on iOS, macOS.” The company explains the change will make the user experience within these services more consistent with Safari, the browser used by iOS and macOS. Writer Marius Nestor reports:

As of today, Apple chooses to use Google instead of Microsoft’s Bing for web search results on Siri for iOS and macOS, as well as on the Spotlight feature of macOS Sierra or High Sierra and iOS’ built-in search functionality. In a statement given to TechCrunch this morning, Apple confirms the switch from Bing to Google for web search results provided by either Siri or Spotlight on both iOS and macOS operating systems, claiming that the drastic change has to do with consistency across all of its supported Mac and iOS devices, but we know that Google paid Apple $3 billion to remain default search engine on iOS and macOS.

Though Bing diehards can re-enable that search engine within the Safari browser, but not for Siri or Spotlight. Apple emphasizes they maintain “strong relationships” with both Google and Microsoft.

Cynthia Murrell, October 26, 2017

Bing Gains on Google in Desktop Search

October 20, 2017

Many were skeptical that Bing could make any inroads into Google’s market, but now TechRadar reports, “Bing Search Has Taken Over a Surprising Amount of Google’s Turf.” Citing comScore’s figures for desktop PC searches made this past March, writer Darren Allan tells us that, in the US, one out of three desktop searches used Bing and in the UK, one out of four did. Globally, Bing’s market share is 9%, a figure that includes Microsoft-powered Yahoo and AOL searches. What is behind Bing’s unforeseen success? Allan reflects:

The spread of Windows 10 is the primary factor, with Microsoft’s newest OS maintaining a steady rate of growth as time goes on, as we saw with the latest figures on that front yesterday. Windows 10 is fronted – quite literally, from setup onwards – by Cortana, and searches conducted via the digital assistant are powered by Bing. As Windows 10 continues to gather pace, and more folks begin to use Cortana on the desktop, naturally more searches will come Bing’s way. And to some extent, Google getting flak for anti-competitive practices in Europe, as seen last month when the search giant was hit by a massive fine for favoring its own shopping services in results, isn’t likely to hurt Bing’s prospects either. We’ve certainly had several non-techie friends hear anti-Google news hitting the headlines, prompting them to think about using alternatives. This search might lead folks to Bing’s door. And finally, the fact that Microsoft will now pay you to use Bing could tempt some folks, as well.

Yes, Microsoft Rewards is bribing users to make the switch. I suppose every incentive helps. Will such tactics, along with Windows’ dominant desktop position and Google’s reputation problem, continue to support Bing’s rise in the search market? Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, October 20, 2017

Everyone and Their Dog Is a Search Expert

October 13, 2017

Young people get frustrated when they help older people with technology.  There are considerable sighs, rolling eyes, and the situation often ends in yelling.  One frustration young people are forced to deal with is teaching an older person how to use a search engine.  Trying to explain how to enter information into the text box, the meaning of keywords, and how to tell the difference between results is not easy.  However, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yandex try to make the search process as easy as possible so everyone can become a search expert.

Learning how to search is not the only thing people have trouble learning.  Tech Viral wrote about the top “how to” searches in the article, “Here Are The Top 100 ‘How To’ Searches That People Want To Know.”  Xaquin GV researched how people use Google as the answer all “how to” tool and discovered the most popular searches.  Among the top “how to “searches are how to make money, how to tie a tie, how to draw, how to kiss, how to lose weight, how to make pancakes, and how to get pregnant.

The essay also examines the top 100 ‘How to’ searches conducted worldwide, and the results are very illustrative. Xaquin divided those searches into categories, with visual representations of how popular each of them is.

The search results mostly revolve around activities that are adult responsibilities along with a few surprises that concern current trends.  Everyone can become an expert at any activity with a few simple keystrokes and tutorial guides.  YouTube makes “how to” guides more helpful and even more dangerous when people try to copy the experts at parkour, skateboarding, and daredevil activities that should never be tried at home kids.

Whitney Grace, October 13, 2017

Bing Expands Rewards Incentives to UK Users

August 2, 2017

We learn from the Verge that Microsoft is expanding its bribery, I mean, rewards program to the UK in, “Microsoft Is Now Paying People to Use Bing in the UK with its Rewards Scheme.” Referring to points a user accrues by using Bing, writer Tom Warren details:

The points can then be transferred to a number of different rewards, including Xbox digital gift cards, Groove Music passes, and Skype credit. Microsoft is also partnering with a number of UK charities so you can donate points to these organizations instead. Microsoft Rewards works almost identically in the UK as it does in the US. You’ll get 3 points per Bing search, and this is doubled (until August 15th) if you’re using Microsoft Edge. You can obtain a maximum of 30 points per day (60 points using Edge) through searches, or participate in quizzes to gain more. Microsoft also gives out 1 point for every pound spend at the UK online Microsoft Store. If you manage to hit 500 points in a month, there’s a second level with better rewards and the ability to earn a maximum of 150 points a day.

Is this program enough to pull a significant number of Google users Bing’s way? Perhaps the expansion overseas is an indication that it has been a success in the US. Either way, it is too bad Bing must stoop to buying traffic and click love.

Cynthia Murrell, August 2, 2017

Bing Introduces an Image Feed

June 30, 2017

Here’s a short write-up about a notable addition to Bing —On MSFT reports, “Bing Image Search Updated with Image Feed, Taking on Pinterest.” After noting that the Tools menu has been renamed “Filter” and moved to the right of the screen, writer Jack Wilkinson explains:

A new feature has also appeared, known as Image Feed, which replaces where Tools originally used to be placed. Image Feed allows you to choose a feed of images…. When selecting an image feed to look at, it allows you to follow it as an ‘interest’, so that you can see new images in a feed. Your personalised image feed can be accessed here. By the looks of it, it appears as though Bing’s new image feed is taking a hit at Pinterest – bringing all the images you could want into one place via a feed, in similar fashion to Pinterest.

Yes, this could certainly replace Pinterest for many users, especially ones who already frequent Bing. I had noticed the refine-by-keyword list at the top of Google’s image results page is formatted much like the one on my Pinterest account. Will that online search platform, still number one by far, also implement a Pinterest-like image feed? Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, June 30, 2017

Scadarlia Refines Internet Search Results

June 27, 2017

You can add a touch of arts-and-crafts to your online searches with a third-party preview-and-notation app—“Scadarlia: New Approach to Search Engines Using.” The promo page includes a video and is full of illustrative screenshots. What interests us is the way Scadarlia evaluates the relevance of each result. The Softpedia download page goes into the tech behind the folksy-looking add-on:

The program prompts you with a main window that is split into two sections, which should reinterpret your approach to search engines. While the left section is dedicated to keywords as well as the list of results the search engine considers suitable for your inquiry, the right panel shows the URL you want to analyze in detail. While this may look like a program packing ordinary browser-like capability, it is not. In fact, the application differentiates itself through its ability to follow a series of rules when displaying the results of a Google or Bing search. It can analyze the position of your keywords within your page, making sure that they are as close to one another as possible, since this is what makes them more representative for what you have in mind.

Other features include the color-coding sites by usefulness and the abilities to blacklist sites and to create stop words. The full version can be downloaded for $9.95 from its Softpedia page.

Cynthia Murrell, June 27, 2017

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