back to article Microsoft's Bing feeds you, tries to keep you captive

Considering the amount of time, money and effort that's gone into Bing, Microsoft's made some truly odd decisions in connection with its new search engine. Never mind the odd name. Did Microsoft really not foresee that Bing could be used as a handy way to side-step porn filters? And was it really necessary to bolster Wikipedia …

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  1. Humph

    Spelling!

    Para. 11: ... search box that likes to the search engine on the site itself.

    Think that should say links not likes!

  2. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    Looks OK

    Works OK. I would have to try it more to see if I could be arsed moving from the Big G though.

  3. Adam Azarchs

    Site preview

    You could use Bing, or you could install Snap's plugin for Firefox. It's not a particularly original feature.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    meh!

    Perhaps it will imporve overtime.

    I must admit i hadnt been drawn to some of the features you mention, so maybe i will go back and see if i can enjoy the ruchness of the new product. I will see wat and if there is any mterial a i can circumnavigate the firewall before being sacked ;o)

    my main problem is core functionality, that is to say for my usual range of searches it brought back generally results with a low relevance compared to other search products, Google still is the engine of choice, more alarmingly for my purposes even yahoo ranks above Bing!?

    Maybe, and interestingly - if as you indicate i choose an "optimised" search then the experince is different and that does raise some quesitons as to the purpose of a search engine?

    Is it just a means of presenting or regurgitating a mass of commonaly available information readily available on a day to day basis from a 101 sources, or should and can it be used as an investigative tool? If the former, then bing wins, if the latter then it fails so far!

    Why did they also not go the whole hog and call it Bingo! and not Bing!??

  5. k d

    Bing!

    I thought Bing was quite a clever choice of name... "... hang on, I'll search for it... there it is... bing!". Or in the UK case "beta bing!"

  6. Sampler

    IE most popular browser?

    According to the stats at W3C schools it's now FF.

  7. Ole Juul

    Balance in the marketplace?

    Bing actually works well for me and it shows my own sites at the top of a search so what can I say? Although I'm generally anti-MS, I'll give this a go for a while because I like to see more search engines and Google is starting to worry me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    To be honest...

    ...I actually quite like it....

    Does stand out and every search doesn't return a "Find ...... on ebay"

  9. Geoff Mackenzie

    Program Manager Nathan Buggia

    Buggia, lol.

  10. N Silver badge

    Dear Mr Smith

    Bing looks good for previewing porn, no need for expense claim

  11. Niall
    Thumb Down

    It's All About Results.

    Had a quick look entered the query, leaving cert paper 2 mistake, which is quite topical in Ireland at the moment. The first five pages of Bing returned nothing relevant. The first five results from Google were exactly what I was looking for. Anyone remember cuil? I still hope it will become a viable alternative to Google the competition will keep them on their toes.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    share

    You mention 'market share', by which you're referring to query share, but rather pertinent to this article is the fact that Live Search reached around 30% of searchers, compared to 90% or so for Google. While that's not massive, the discrepancy between searcher reach and query share suggested that any new MS search engine needed to be more 'sticky', and get people to return to it. Hence, I guess, the catchy brand, and the 'one-stop-shop' style approach to things like booking flights and so on.

  13. Thought About IT

    Tracking?

    One good reason to use bing is to reduce google's ability to keep tabs on us. MS seems to be more wary of upsetting their customers by retaining information on them, but time will tell.

  14. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    Porn search..

    I had dickens of a time, trying to turn that bloody Filter off. :D

    Sadly it wasn't quite as simple as changing the Settings, but I stil managed to do so somehow.

    All I can say is keep up the good work there Microsoft! You finally figured out that the Internet is for Porn!

    Google should probably start to watch there backs now!

  15. Henrietta Redinkdiary

    Microsoft's Bing Bang On Target

    Unfortunate that Microsoft chose to name their new search Best Match, the same as eBay's despised "unfinding experience" but it does seem to be bringing an increasing amount of targeted traffic to my eCommerce blog.

  16. Ida

    Bing gets it wrong

    I tried it out and found that if I opened Bing in IE I got Bing Australia. If I opened Bing in Firefox I get Bing U.K. Twould seem sthat the only people who use Firefox, According to Microsoft, are U.K.ians.

    That being said I still rather prefer Google, at least they know where I live.......mmmmmmm maybe not so good

  17. Peter Page
    Dead Vulture

    Linguistic Inflation

    "Bing can get the user's intent spectacularly wrong at times. Bing has a mobile version, m.bing.com, on which I searched for Windows Mobile. At the top of the results were glass companies in the city of Mobile in the US state of Alabama."

    How is that spectacularly wrong? Not what you wanted perhaps, but hardly a "spectacularly wrong" guess. Mildly amusing at best? Now if you had let it know you were interested in Operating Systems you might have had a point. Or maybe in your life your example really does count as something spectacularly noteworthy. I, on the other hand, have seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. Spectacular, you see.

  18. /dev/me

    And of course

    Firefox has had add-ons that give you a preview of a web page for a long time. And there are ample websites to help you searching through restaurants, or whatever business yo are interested in. Some of these are quite good. So there is still nothing new under the sun.

    But I guess it's ironic that the company that drives people crazy by forcing them to click and click and click before they can get something done on their local machine (are you sure you want me to do what you told me to do?) is trying to save us a few clicks on the internet by embedding external media sources, content previews and (heheh) wikipedia.

    I'm just wondering how /fast/ bing is, compared to google. I'd think all those nifty previews eat bandwidth and server CPU. Also interesting that they feed the beta to the entire world sans USA. They get the Real Thing and we have to wait six to nine months. Well, at least we know where we stand, Microsoft!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft

    Microsoft are so far behind in terms of search engines because it's too difficult to find the information you need.

    I've tried using Live Search for all sorts of things from finding photoshop tutorials, to researching topics for my degrees and I just find it cumbersome to use, with little in the way of useful results.

    I don't know why this is, but they need to get it sorted if they want to take on Google search. I don't really like Google that much as a company (in fact I prefer MS), but most people, including me will go straight for their search engine because at the moment it is the best for most types of search.

    The term "Google it" is nearly always used these days rather than just saying "do a search".

  20. stim
    Thumb Up

    comfy

    i like Bing. It's worth a good week or two using it before dissing it or writing it off.

    Being comfortable and knowing what to expect from Google is one thing, but i have found bing to be very relevant and the added features are a bit more interactive. Bing actually makes Google look really dated.

    Both engines are obviously similar but at the same time do certain things very differently.

    Maybe it's time for a change, i can't think of a product which has remained at the top slot forever, (apart from maybe windows!), walkman fell to ipod, maybe Bing will do the same to Google?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    this is nothing like...

    this is nothing like...live search, it's a total revamp. Whatever they have done, they have done right.

  22. Lionel Baden

    it will be in the results !

    i have used google for years even had a gmail account when it was invite only.

    But lately microsoft are getting my attention

    e.g. free push mail with live.com account (have a old hermes running WM6.1)

    Would of prefered gmail but this actually seems to be doing quite well.

    I do get a tad annoyed to the amount of comercial stuff i get in my google searches considering i dont really buy off the internet :/ if i do i go to names i already know e.g. argos cpc maplin.

    If they can deliver decent resuts without to much crap for buying stuff i will be happy

    Google is a automated shopping trolley now :(

  23. Pat

    Hang on, have they just put Google in a frame?

    It looks JUST like Google. Same layout, same text-ads column, same colours even. I think maybe Bing is just a very light frameset and some css.

    If imitation is the finest form of flattery, MS just sucked Google's lolly.

  24. tiggertaebo

    is it really going to matter?

    It's early days but bing looks really good from what I've seen so far... and yes I do trust MS more than I trust Google. The problem really is that any search engine needs to reach a critical mass of users before it really explodes, in the days of the Google The Dominator(TM) that's harder than ever to do, bing might go end up as a footnote - yet another example of the better technology losing out to the market.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Yahoo

    Yahoo is a pretty darn good alternative to google. I can find everything I need, at the same discovery rate.

  26. Ivan Headache

    London Weather

    "Type "London weather", for example, and you get a summary of weather in London now and for the next five days."

    Odd that the first hit on Google is exactly that.

    Obviously bing searches google.

  27. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Pleasantly pleased

    So far.

    Takes me back to when Google was an uncluttered search engine and did just that. Wikipedia comes out tops in some searches but not all, I haven't noticed overly undue prominence.

    The irony of trying to avoid 'all the world belongs to us' Google by having to turn to Microsoft :-)

    The only complaint I have is that I'm using 800x600 and pop-up previews are off screen to the right when there's plenty of wasted blank space on the left.

  28. breakfast
    Thumb Down

    Rubbish at images

    The image search does a much worse job than Google's one - the results are related to the search term maybe 20-30% of the time rather than 50-60% ( unscientific estimate, but this is about user perception anyways ) and it doesn't seem to use any metadata about the image, just the file name.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    but will it recognise m$ product names?

    seriously, if i search for COM components will i just get dot com links??

    or SQL server will i actually get info on microsofts SQL server??

    or .net perhaps i'll actually get information on the framework, rather than matching URLS

    or Money - perhaps it will give me info on microsoft Money

    or ditto for Project, Word, Access....

    i was actually waiting for a product called "the" from m$... i've always wondered whether choosing words so generic that they're hard to search for was part of the remit for m$ product names!

    Paris because googling that always returns relevant results (eh? a city in france you say...?)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Porn Research

    Good results for "milf", less good for more obscure categories like "gilf" and "oma".

    I will wait on windows users to report on more alternative lifestyle choices search results like "daddies" and "twinks".

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Peter Page

    all these moments will be lost, like tears in the rain

  32. Daniel

    Let's see how well it survives being gamed

    For every website owner with legitimate content, there are dozens of frankly evil ones, who will try to misdirect web users onto their sites for any number of unwholesome ends. Gaming any primary route, that users rely on to find content, is about the easiest way for malicious websites to hoover up hapless victims. Successful search engines actively work against these efforts, and the more successful the search engine becomes, the harder this gets. The fumble over the porn previews was of concern because it was a side effect of how Bing was designed to work: it wasn't the result of someone actively targeting the feature. It reveals a niavety, on the part of the developers, that I do not think will prove resilient, against the jading experience of having to run a search engine effectively, against attackers with seriously bad intentions, for years, while trying to stay ahead of them.

    Search is about much more than finding something that looks about right, and making a mashup of it. If more people start using Bing, then attempts to game it's search criteria will move into full gear, and at the moment, its search criteria do appear rather childishly obvious.

  33. John H Woods Silver badge
    Happy

    Bing = Obvious Name

    Surely world+dog realises that Bing is a recursive acronym for Bing Is Not Google? I'd have plumped for Zing though.

  34. James Comer
    Linux

    @Ivan Headache

    "Obviously bing searches google."

    Check your logic.

    You have reached this conclusion because if you type "London Weather" in both then it brings up information about the weather in London? It might just be possible that both search engines are set up to return weather forecasts independently of each other?

    Moreover, given that today they return different forecasts, I fail to see how either is getting their information from the other.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    date relevant

    Google and Bing do not seem to get the date relevance of stuff.

    E.g. if i search for a tech term on google or bing i may get a link to a forum that has not changed in 3 years ABOVE a more recent entry in another forum.

    How relevant is not just a case of how many words match but how up to date.

    Hmm.... seems like bing is just google in an iframe...

  36. jason

    Where in the world???

    I've built three XP PCs this week in the UK and the PCs are all set to UK settings (natch) but everytime the IE8 setup runs through it defaults Bing to the Spanish version.

    Donde esta UK version????

  37. Karim Bourouba

    @Sampler

    No, you may have read it wrong. The stats on their pages show the browser share just for W3Schools. It isnt an idication of overall trends on the Internet, it says so towards the bottom of the page.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Sampler

    Why the hell does no one read the disclaimer on that page?! W3School's users are hardly going to be indicative of general browser use - they're all web developers!

    Every time the question of browser market share comes up some idiot mentions that site and says that FF is winning. Try checking the GA accounts of some websites and you'll see that FF is still well below IE in most cases.

  39. Dave Webb
    Thumb Up

    BING?

    Am I the only one that when I say 'Bing' in my head it's always in the voice of Doug when he slaps Chandler's arse in that early episode of Friends? :)

    This is quite nice to use, but I still found the most relevant results to my query a few pages in. The interface is clean and crisp like Google which is good.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Search within search...

    I quite like this idea.

    I'm not sure about a search engine trying to make decisions for me, but at least there's no advertising.

    Anyway, the world needs more than one set of answers, so I don't see why anyone should complain at a different approach - it can only be a good thing, surely?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bing = Obvious Name

    I'd have gone with Ping :)

  42. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    In the words of Dr Raymond Stantz “he's an ugly little spud isn't he?"

    Seriously, I looked at it last week, gagged and typed in "google" and clicked the link, then, just for good measure, I pressed back and then typed in "google" and clicked the link again.

  43. Fuzz

    A different point of view

    If I search for trim in both google and bing. Google's first result is the trim function in the php manual.

    Bing favours trim.com the website of a brand of manicure products. The php function is 3rd.

    Interestingly Google returns trim.co.uk (9th) before trim.com (10th) presumably because I am in the UK.

    Bing looks pretty good, much better than the old live search. However just being good isn't going to make people switch from Google they need to be significantly better. I guess they just have to hope that they can gain market share by being the default search in IE.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Best search engine?

    clusty.com

  45. Lee Jackson
    Gates Halo

    I Love it!

    This is great! I am really suprised! The results are good for my searches, and I have been using it all day instead of Google. The old LIVE search was a heap of junk and never gave decent results, but this is actually accurate, clean, some nifty features, not Google and GOOD!

    I will give it at least a week to be fair to it. I am pretty bored of Google, and the millions of results that take me to fake blogs, ebay pages, expired pages and or chinese pages.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BING BANG BALLS

    Competition to Google I'm all for but competition from Microsoft?

    I'd sooner search the internet myself.............

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: a different point of view

    "If I search for trim in both google and bing."

    If I search for trim, I get pictures of ladies. Maybe it's a language thing. Now, about that fuzz ...

  49. RW

    Search engines

    The Google search is pretty good, but nothing's perfect and there's always room for another kick at the cat. Google's chief drawbacks are, as Lee Jackson put it, "the millions of results that take me to fake blogs, ebay pages, expired pages and or Chinese pages" and the simple fact that it's part of the privacy-invasive Googleplex. For the latter reason, I avoid the use of Google search these days, and use Google almost exclusively for Maps (which I do not enter search terms into) and Images, which I use to track down pictures of certain plants. Indeed, when Google took over one of the main blogging sites, I deleted my blogs and my account.

    These days I use Ixquick for most searches. It claims not to retain your IP address (but that may be a meaningless claim), and is something of a meta-search engine. Good old Altavista is still out there, too, and I don't know how many others.

    It seems to me that diversity is the key element to having a perfect world as far as search engines are concerned. There's more than one way to spider the web and more than one way to analyze and organize what you find, so the more the merrier.

    PS: Re Google and privacy. It strikes me that the time is coming when the whole concept of "targeted ads" will have to be thrown into the trash barrel, along with Google's own propensity to spy on you, Phorm, Nebuad, and God only knows what other snooping systems. The simple fact is that "targeted ads" are INHERENTLY at odds with online privacy and it's time for everyone to realize this.

  50. This post has been deleted by its author

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    I think it's brilliant!

    When I search for our main key phrase our company website is listed on the first page not once but twice!

    Compared to Google's bottom of page two listing it gets my vote!

  52. webdude

    if this is....

    if this is the latest and greatest thinking out of Microsoft they are headed the way of the American auto manufactures. Going Going Gone!

    Need a bailout do you?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Image search

    Everything looks lovely - except having to roll over images to see the site they're from. I often search using image search because I can quickly scan for likely sites - but the picture alone's not enough to tell me that.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Errr!

    Who the fuck is this Bing Google Guy? Sounds like a twat to me.

    http://www.scroogle.org/ ftw.

    Paris, cos she can bing my google anytime :)

  55. J
    Paris Hilton

    See?

    "there are unfortunate side effects when it comes to porn - seriously, didn't anybody inside Microsoft see that one coming?"

    I see what you did there...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Too many comnplaints

    About bing bringing up too many pr0nz sites. seriously, is this possible?

    Paris, 'cuz her video plays when you roll over her.

  57. James Butler

    @Search within search

    Um ... there are ads all over Bing, just like Google, Live Search, ad infinitum.

    And if you guys think Bing won't beef up its monetizing ... BZZZT. Wrong. If there's one thing Microsoft knows, it's penny sucking. You can rest assured that whatever Bing looks like in its rollout will bear faint resemblance to what it will look like once the public has started to really use it. Same goes for its functionality ... it will change a LOT in the coming months, both for its good and your bad.

    And don't forget that Microsoft is that sweet little company that just can't help 'helping' ... from unrequested 'updates' that modify third party software to keeping the leash on throughout the life of a system, Microsoft has proven over and over again that if given the opportunity to stick their finger into your pie ... they will do it without hesitation.

    At least Google only pays attention to you when you are using its services, or are on a website that feels compelled to use its services.

  58. Jerry Leach
    Thumb Up

    Bing

    Tried bing today in the UK - beta version. Liked it. thought it was much cleaner to use than Google and the search results were fine for the things I looked for (real stuff). I am sure the results will improve over time as well.

    Not sure why gthe reviewer seemed to have the usual 'well its Microsoft so lets knock it' attitude. Its nice to see an alternative to Google.

  59. DZ-Jay

    Re: Errr!

    FAIL!

    <https://ssl.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbwssl.cgi> FT-real-W.

    P.S. I think Bing (or is it "Bing!") warrants a looksie. I personally think it's trying to be jack-of-all-trades, which may not work out too well, but it may prove to be a worthy adversary to the allmighty Google.

    -dZ.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pleasantly surprised

    I've tried live.com a couple of times over the last few months (and live.com has had that daily photo with hotspots home page for ages), but I always ended back with Google.

    I just tried a search that google didn't help with yesterday, and bing came up trumps on the first link.

    Microsoft also has the best website for checking "gas" prices, on autos.msn.com. It's interesting to note that a search on bing for "gas prices" only turns up the msn site in 3rd place. bing and google both put gasbuddy in the number one slot (that site looks like a refugee from the 90's, complete with annoying animated gif ads).

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    What World are we living in??

    Seriosly, I keep checking the URL and it says Theregister.co.uk but I then scan over these posts and I don't see how this is happening. What the heck happened to all the microsoft haters? only a few of you are showing up to badmout Bing?

    Come on, there is so much to beat up on it at. The name initially sounds stupid. All the news before people actually used it was how horrible it woudl be and how spending 100M was useless and pointless and another FAIL!

    Now, after people have actually used it!! ACTUALLY USED IT! They have a few positive things to say? Where is your conviction to hating people? or did all the pro MS people just show up to comment and the hater decided to shut their pie holes because wow, it was actually kinda nice to see a nicely designed search engine (whose colors weren't designed for 1st graders - come on the primary colors on google look like a joke when you go there now) and it actually delivers good results (AKA it works well).

    Just amazing to see these posts. I would like to see more haters read my post and come back here with some conviction. I think with all the good news on Win7 and now Bing that you guys are scared that you can't sit up on your pedastal and look down at a company stumbling and play the arrogant know it all and pontificate about how they would do things much better.

    Come on people - Keep hate alive.

  62. Columbus
    Joke

    Italian American search engine..

    badabing.com

  63. The Jase

    Meh

    Fire up Bing and search for Phorm.

    Lots of links to subpages of phorm.com. Google still gives a better set of hits against the same term

  64. NRT
    Gates Horns

    Good old days...

    "That's our goal of not just providing links but helping you solve the key task that you're trying to do"

    Surely that feature needs its own animated icon. How about a paperclip?

  65. Martin
    Pirate

    @Jason

    //.I've built three XP PCs this week in the UK and the PCs are all set to UK settings (natch) but everytime the IE8 setup runs through it defaults Bing to the Spanish version.

    Donde esta UK version???? ///

    search microsoft KB, you will find the reason/patch..... this is a known "feature"

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    weirdo!

    @What World are we living in??

    "keep hate alive" - mate, seriously, go home and find a rope!

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Bing-bang-dosh

    When i first saw it. I thought someone had been playing with some dns tables on my net. Until i worked out that it was live search.

    The stupid images in the background are useless/slow to load.

  68. Stephen Harvey
    Happy

    MS' uphill battle

    Yes, IE may default to Live Search, but when we got my 11 year old a new computer and he was using it for the first time to search for something on the internet for his homework, he typed "Google" into the Live Search box, which took him to the Google home page, and only then did he enter his search terms. Dominant mindshare, or what?

    At that point I set his default search engine to Google, although I was laughing so hard it was pretty tricky to aim the mouse accurately.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's all in...

    ..the mentality.

    We're all so used to google that we've begun to think like google when forming our queries. We know what works best so we optimise our queries to get the most suitable matches.

    Unless bing works in the the same way we're going to have to start again which I don't particularly fancy.

    That and I don't really want to use MS (though at least they thought ahead with a catchy name that could easily become verbified - "Just bing for a local curry house will you...". If only the people behind cuil (!!) had thought of that!)

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Since no-ones

    said it yet, may i be the first:

    Beta Bing, Beta Boom!

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