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Bing Searches for Continuous Development

February 5, 2016

I read “Microsoft Shifts Bing Search Engine To ‘Continuous’ Development Cycle.” Frankly I had never considered the frequency of Bing updates. I do pay attention when Microsoft relies on Baidu or Yandex for search. I may or may not notice when Bing “hides” its shopping service. I have given up trying to locate Microsoft academic search and trying to figure out how to eliminate pop culture references from a Bing results set. In short, I know about Bing, but I don’t think about Bing unless I read articles like “Bing Search for Android Gets New Design and Lots of Bugs in Latest Update.”

Recently Bing realized that it was not making modifications to the site quickly enough. I learned:

The Bing team has openly stated that it was finding its deployment cycle was limiting innovation.

The idea is that Bing will just get better more quickly. Okay, that sounds good. I learned also:

Some people call this learning to fail fast i.e. get features tested and only keep the stuff that works.

I took another look at the write up. The author is a “contributor” to Forbes. Does this mean that the write up is an advertorial? That’s okay, but the conclusion left me scratching my head:

Quite why Bing isn’t the new Google is another topic altogether. Microsoft may never challenge the search giant’s simplicity, functionality and query intelligence – or it might, we don’t know. What we do know is that software updates have to work a whole lot faster than they used to and only the successful ‘code shops’ will now follow this pattern.

My thoughts on why Bing lags behind Google boils down to:

  1. The Bing index strikes me as less robust than Google’s
  2. The Bing system does not deliver results that give me access to content on sites which are smaller and often quite difficult via the Bing tools.

Google is not perfect, so I rely on Ixquick.com, Yandex, Unbubble.eu and other systems. Bing is not a second choice for me. Speed of code changes is, like many of my Bing search query results, irrelevant.

Stephen E Arnold, February 5, 2016

Elasticsearch Works for Us 24/7

February 5, 2016

Elasticsearch is one of the most popular open source search applications and it has been deployed for personal as well as corporate use.  Elasticsearch is built on another popular open source application called Apache Lucene and it was designed for horizontal scalability, reliability, and easy usage.  Elasticsearch has become such an invaluable piece of software that people do not realize just how useful it is.  Eweek takes the opportunity to discuss the search application’s uses in “9 Ways Elasticsearch Helps Us, From Dawn To Dusk.”

“With more than 45 million downloads since 2012, the Elastic Stack, which includes Elasticsearch and other popular open-source tools like Logstash (data collection), Kibana (data visualization) and Beats (data shippers) makes it easy for developers to make massive amounts of structured, unstructured and time-series data available in real-time for search, logging, analytics and other use cases.”

How is Elasticsearch being used?  The Guardian is daily used by its readers to interact with content, Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM use it to index and analyze social feeds, it powers Yelp, and her is a big one Wikimedia uses it to power the well-loved and used Wikipedia.  We can already see how much Elasticsearch makes an impact on our daily lives without us being aware.  Other companies that use Elasticsearch for our and their benefit are Hotels Tonight, Dell, Groupon, Quizlet, and Netflix.

Elasticsearch will continue to grow as an inexpensive alternative to proprietary software and the number of Web services/companies that use it will only continues to grow.

Whitney Grace, February 5, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Bing Clocks Search Speed

February 4, 2016

Despite attempts to improve Bing, it still remains the laughing stock of search engines.  Google has run it over with its self-driving cars multiple times.   DuckDuckGo tagged it as the “goose,” outran it, and forced Bing to sit in the proverbial pot.  Facebook even has unfriended Bing.  Microsoft has not given up on its search engine, so while there has been a list of novelty improvements (that Google already did or copied not long after their release) it has a ways to go.

Windows Central tells about the most recent Bing development: a bandwidth speed test in “Bing May Be Building A Speed Test Widget Within Search Results.”  Now that might be a game changer for a day, until Google releases its own version.  Usually to test bandwidth, you have to search for a Web site that provides the service.  Bing might do it on command within every search results page.  Not a bad idea, especially if you want to see how quickly your Internet runs, how fast it takes to process your query, or if you are troubleshooting your Internet connection.

The bandwidth test widget is not available just yet:

“A reader of the site Kabir tweeted a few images displaying widget like speed test app within Bing both on the web and their phone (in this case an iPhone). We were unable to reproduce the results on our devices when typing ‘speed test’ into Bing. However, like many new features, this could be either rolling out or simply A/B testing by Microsoft.”

Keep your fingers crossed that Microsoft releases a useful and practical widget.  If not just go to Google and search for “bandwidth test.”

 

Whitney Grace, February 4, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Bing Rings the Cash Register

February 2, 2016

I read a fascinating story about Bing, Microsoft’s search system which does not include the Fast Search & Transfer goodies in SharePoint Search. Yeah, I know it is confusing.

The write up “Microsoft Corporation Makes Big Bucks with Bing: Cloud Is the Future.” Web search has been, as far as I know, a cloud service for more than a decade. Set that aside.

The important point is:

Microsoft Bing search engine grew by 21% in 2QFY16, emerges as a potent threat to Google.

Poor Google. First, it was the presence of Qwant (what? you don’t remember Qwant?) now it is Bing. Doom looms it seems.

The write up reports in “real” journalistic rhetoric:

Microsoft’s search engine advertising revenues excluding traffic acquisitions cost increased by 21% in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 (2QFY16). … The software giant is expected to continue its growth in the coming quarters, although what is more important is that Bing will continue to remain profitable and gain shares in the foreseeable future.

I like that “is expected.” Is this a Bing prediction?

I noted this passage:

The software giant is making recognizable efforts to evolve from a Windows-dependent organization to a “cloud-first, mobile-first” company. Microsoft seems to be doing well with its cloud business and making a profit from its Office 365, as well. Users of Windows 10 are also on the rise. Interestingly enough, for these users, Bing-driven Cortana is a very important feature which helps the service generate significant revenue growth to bolster the slipping Windows revenues.

But the kicker for me was the statement:

… Popular speculation suggests that Bing is just a minor detail once you take into account Microsoft’s prospects regarding its position in the upcoming cloud business which it has invested heavily in; and rightly so as the cloud services segment has added indefinite value to the company’s stock.

But isn’t Bing a cloud service? I am confused but the Bing/Fast Search set up is a baffler as well.

Yep, the new Microsoft. And Windows phone? Hmmm.

Stephen E Arnold, February 2, 2016

Bing Goes Green, as in Dollar Bills and Brand New Logo

January 29, 2016

The article on Microsoft News titled Microsoft Releasing New Bing Logo Today briefly overviews the recent growth and profitability of the often mocked and overlooked search engine. Microsoft also updated Cortana lately, which is deeply connected to Bing search. So what will the new Bing logo look like? The article explains,

“In the new logo, Microsoft is switching its color scheme to green as it  “is easier to see over yellow” and “b” in now in upper case. This new version of the logo will be used across various Microsoft apps and services. Speaking to AdAge, Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft’s corporate VP of advertiser and publisher solutions said that Bing is the only search engine that is experiencing steady, consistent growth and have increased our share for 26 consecutive quarters.”

The article also points out that it is Bing powering Yahoo, AOL, Apple Siri and several other services, from behind the scenes. The green logo looks less like an imitation of Google, especially with the capitalization. Perhaps the new logo is meant to be easier on the eyes, but it is also certainly trying to keep up the positive attention Bing has been receiving lately as 1/3 of the search market.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 29, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Is Yahoo Going the Way of AOL?

January 25, 2016

Yahoo hired former Googler Marissa Mayer as its new CEO to turn the company around.  The company is headed towards stormy waters again, which could leave only the ship’s hull.  Yahoo could sell its main operating business and all that would be left is Yahoo Japan, Alibaba shares, and $5 billion in cash.  Mayer would then get the boot, says South China Morning Post in the article, “Yahoo Destined For Tech Graveyard Due To Poor Choice In Chief Executive Officer.”

Yahoo has gone through five CEOs in the past decade and its current shares are trading well below value, making the company only worth at an estimated $2 billion.

Yahoo’s current problems began when the company was formed.  Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo were great inventors, but they were inexperienced running a company.  Yahoo failed to accept Microsoft’s offer and while it floundered, Google stole the search market.

“Determining the right kind of chief executive for a tech company at a particular stage of development represents the most frustrating and critical issue. The weakness of chief executives with a tech start-up or product background like Mayer is that they try to invent and innovate a large corporation out of a problem and into a breakthrough strategy.”

The article explains that Yahoo needed to be knocked down and then rebuilt from the ground up.  A huge movement like that requires more from a tech manager who is only used to positive growth, praise, and giving huge benefits to staff.

This points out that people with different talents are needed to manage a company as well as the importance of a diverse team with varied experience.   Some people are meant to invent and work in the tech field, others are meant to be business leaders.

 

Whitney Grace, January 25, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Microsoft Cortana Update Draws Users to Bing

January 22, 2016

The article titled Microsoft Updates Windows 10 Cortana With New Search Tools for Better Results on IB Times heralds the first good news for Bing in ages. The updates Microsoft implemented provide tremendous search power to users and focused search through a selection of filters. Previously, Cortana would search in every direction, but the filters enable a more targeted search for, say, applications instead of web results. The article explains,

“It’s a small change, but one that shows Microsoft’s dedication to making the assistant as useful as possible. Cortana is powered by Bing, so any improvements to the Windows 10 assistant will encourage more consumers to use Microsoft’s search engine. Microsoft made a big bet when it chose to deeply integrate Bing into Windows 10, and there is signs that it’s paying off. After the June 2015 Windows 10 launch, Bing attained profitability for the first time in October 2015.”

That positive note for Bing is deeply hedged on the company’s ability to improve mobile search, which has continued to grow as a major search platform while desktop search actually peaked, according to research. Microsoft launched Cortana on Android and iOS, but it is yet to be seen whether this was sufficient action to keep up the Bing momentum.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 22, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

The Total Patent Counts for 2015 Are in, and IBM Wins (Again)

January 21, 2016

The article on Reuters titled IBM Granted Most U.S. Patents in 2015, Study Finds confirms the 23rd consecutive win in this area for IBM. Patents are a key indicator of the direction and focus of a given business, and top companies take these numbers very seriously. Interestingly, 2015 was the first year since 2007 that the total count of U.S. patents fell. Following that trend, Microsoft Corp’s patents were also 31% lower than past totals, and as a result the company took only tenth place on the list. The article provides some other details on patent rankings,

“Among the technology giants notable for their intellectual property, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google stepped up its patent activity, moving to the fifth position from eighth in 2014, while Apple Inc (AAPL.O) stayed at the 11th position. Patents are sometimes the subject of legal battles, and investors, analysts and enthusiasts alike track patents closely to see what companies are looking to develop next. Following IBM, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and Canon Inc (7751.T) rounded off the top three spots…”

There are no big surprises here, but one aspect of patents that the article does not cover is whether patents count as revenue? We were under the impression that money did that trick, but the emphasis on patents seems to suggest otherwise.

 
Chelsea Kerwin, January 21, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

DtSearch in the Cloud

January 18, 2016

Enterprise- and developer-search firm dtSearch now offers a platform for the cloud. PR.com informs us, “New .NET Solution Uses dtSearch with Microsoft Azure Files and RemoteApp.”  The solution allows users to run the dtSearch engine entirely online with Microsoft Azure, ensuring their security with Microsoft’s RemoteApp. The press release elaborates:

“The solution enables cloud operation of all dtSearch components, leveraging Microsoft’s new Azure Files feature for dtSearch index storage. Searching (including all 25+ dtSearch search options) runs via Microsoft’s RemoteApp. Using RemoteApp gives the search component the ‘look and feel’ of a native application running under Windows, Android, iOS or OS/X. Developers using dtSearch’s core developer product, the dtSearch Engine, can find the solution on CodeProject, including complete Visual Studio 2015 .NET sample code.”

See the thorough write-up for many details about the product, including supported formats, search and classification options, and their terabyte indexer. We note, for example, the capacities for concurrent, multithreaded search and for federated searches with their dtSearch Spider.

Founded in 1991, dtSearch supplies search software to firms in several fields and to numerous government agencies around the world. The company also makes its products available for incorporation into other commercial applications. dtSearch has distributors worldwide, and is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.

 

Cynthia Murrell, January 18, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Microsoft Drops Bing from Pulse, Adds Azure Media Services

December 22, 2015

The article on VentureBeat titled Microsoft Rebrands Bing Pulse to Microsoft Pulse, extends Snapshot API ushers in the question: is Bing a dead-end brand? The article states that the rebranding is meant to emphasize that the resource integrates with MS technologies like Power BI, OneNote, and Azure Media Services. It has only been about year since the original self-service tool was released for broadcast TV and media companies. The article states,

“The launch comes a year after Bing Pulse hit version 2.0 with the introduction of a cloud-based self-service option. Microsoft is today showing a few improvements to the tool, including a greatly enhanced Snapshot application programming interface (API) that allows developers to pull data from Microsoft Pulse into Microsoft’s own Power BI tool or other business intelligence software. Previously it was only possible to use the API with broadcast-specific technologies.”

The news isn’t good for Bing, with Pulse gaining popularity as a crowdsourcing resource among such organizations as CNN, CNBC, the Aspen Institute, and the Clinton Global Initiative. It is meant to be versatile and targeted for broadcast, events, market research, and classroom use. Dropping Bing from the name may indicate that Pulse is moving forward, and leaving Bing in the dust.
Chelsea Kerwin, December 22, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

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