Thursday, October 6, 2011

50 Tips & Tricks for Researching with Bing

By L. Fabry

Microsoft’s own studies have found that the act of searching is nearly as habitual as brushing your teeth or tapping your leg. Those who thought the search engine war was over got a new chapter in the series when Bing launched earlier this year. Those who want to try, or have already used this new device, will enjoy the 50 tips, tricks, reviews, and more listed below.

Basics of Bing

These sites are ideal for those still getting started with Bing.
1. Bing Tour Page: Visit here to take an easy and quick tour of Bing. Get tipss for travel, shopping, local, and more. You can even make Bing your default browser with the flip of a virtual switch.
2. Product Guide: This guide outlines the design goals and provides interactive, step-by-step instructions for how to use the new features in everyday tasks such as checking the weather forecast, tracking a package, or planning your next vacation. You can also get sections on the decision engine features, results, search expertise, and how to simplify tasks.
3. Videos: This series of videos show you the basics and latest on Bing from the experts at Microsoft. There are videos on the design and features of the search engine. You can also get a video tour of the product.
4. Search Challenge: Want to see how Bing compares to Google? Then take this challenge for a side by side comparison of the two. You can choose from popular search topics for the challenge or enter your very own.
5. Bing 101: This easy guide is ideal for those just beginning to use Bing. You can get tips for finding news feeds, music, videos, and more. There are also tricks for customized and advanced searches.
6. Bing Mobile Usage Guide & Search Tutorial: Amit Bhawani brings you the latest tech updates and shows you how to use Bing on your mobile device. He does a few searches with it and shows you how to do the same easily and with pictures. You can also get other useful tips for using Bing.

Best Uses for Bing

Now that you’re ready to start searching with Bing, visit the below sites for the best customized results.
7. Bing Video: One of the newest innovations in video search, Bing brings something new to your research. In addition to the usual results page, it actually allows you to preview a video without clicking on it. Simply scroll your mouse over the video you wish to see and get instant playback.
8. Bing Images: Instead of a sterile page of image results from Google or others, Bing does something entirely different. It displays results as a fun collage and gives you information just by scrolling over the image. Bing also gives suggestions on how to narrow your search.
9. Bing Travel: One of the more impressive features of Bing, a travel search allows you to compare multiple sites at once. They include Expedia, Hotwire,, Priceline, and BookingBuddy. The site also has useful articles and hot deals listed right on the page.
10. Bing Translator: This is a free online language translation service for text and web pages. Simply type or paste your text on the left and it can even auto detect the language. Choose from English, Spanish, French, and other languages, hit translate, and get the text in the language of your choice instantly.
11. Bing Maps: Visit here to do map searches like never before. You can start with something as simple as directions or move onto adding and creating your own online collection of maps. You can even explore popular places and get reviews on it.
12. Bing Shopping: The home page is constantly updated with the latest searched items and featured products. Be sure to check out the cash back features that allow you to search, shop, and save. There is also a virtual tour.
13. Bing xRank: Learn which searches are the most popular by using this feature. You can search by biggest mover of the day, celebrity, musician, politician, and blogger. They also have the top ten searches available for viewing.
14. Bing Local: With the help of, Bing can help you locate a number of items in your area. You can choose from categories such as arts, automotive, education, dining, government, and more.
15. Biying: Those doing research in Mandarin Chinese will enjoy this new Bing site, launched on June 1, 2009. Because “Bing” has several meanings in this language, Microsoft changed it to “Biying,” meaning “must respond” or “answer.” Some of the features available on the English version are not yet available on this one.

Best Basic Bing Tricks

Go beyond basic searches with the help of these technology experts and their guides.
16. Microsoft Bing: 7 Quick ‘n’ Dirty Tricks: Definitely quick, but not quite dirty, Gizmodo gives you seven neat Bing tricks. They include getting phone numbers and wallpapers much faster than with Google. You can also get a review for Bing linked to in the first paragraph.
17. Bing Tricks and Tips Extended Edition: Web Talk had already put out an article on Bing, then found some more useful tips. Read about all ten here. You can also get links on how to filter explicit sites with Bing and much more.
18. 5 Cool Things to do With Bing: Million Clues is a technology guide for the digital citizen. They show you five easy ways to use Bing to its fullest. You can also get many other related tips and tricks for other technologies.
19. Bing Tips & Tricks: Amit Agarwal is a technology columnist for a national newspaper. He gives six interesting and easy to follow tips, including how to save and email searches. You can also get other useful how to articles.
Best Advanced Bing Tricks
Those ready for something a little more challenging with Bing will enjoy the below tips.
20. 5 Advanced Bing Tips: Now that you know the basics of Bing, try something a little more advanced. Ghacks often writes about how to take advantage of the latest in technology and shows you how to customize and utilize this search engine. Get tips for removing the background image, getting an IP address, do a search completely in RSS, and more.
21. How to Use the Bing Webmaster Tools: Sascha Kimmel has been blogging about the web experience since 1996. In this entry, you are shown how to use the webmaster tools of Bing. Get tips and tricks for keywords, backlinks, crawl issues, and more.
22. Bing Wallpapers and Ringtones: If you love Bing, then grab a few of these wallpapers for your PC at no charge. There are also three Bing influenced ringtones available as an MP3 to preview or download to your mobile device.
23. Webmaster Tools: Want to make sure your website or blog is listed on Bing? Then visit here to enter your web address and optional sitemap address. You can also give them your email just in case they encounter a problem with your site.

Best Blogs for Bing

Below are the best in technology blogs and their posts on Bing, including many different topics.
24. Webmaster Blog: From the makers of Bing comes this expert blog. It can show you the latest in search engine developments. You can also get information on how to post or remove URL’s from Bing.
25. The Microsoft Blog: Nick Eaton is a reporter for Microsoft and a blogger for Seattlepi. Get the latest in Microsoft news, along with updates and tips for Bing. A recent post was on
26. Travel Blog: Those researching travel or vacations on Bing will want to give this blog a read. It provides information on traveling smarter and debates on the most timely travel topics. A recent entry examined the behavior of teenagers during travel.
27. Maps Blog: See which destinations are the latest to take part in Bing maps by reading this blog. Destinations often leave useful information when visiting them. Recent entries were by Starwood Hotels and Eddie Bauer.
28. Lifehacker: A quick search for Bing turns up interesting results on Lifehacker. You can get reviews, the newest features, and answers to common Bing questions. There is also a ton of other technology related information on this site.
29. Digitizor: This site is a guide to everything technology related and has useful entries on Bing. Learn the basics, get advanced help, and more by reading this site. They also have many other “how to” articles for other technologies.
30. Channel 9: This site also contains stories and information on Bing. You can also listen to a podcast or read a review of the product. There are also many other computer and technology resources on the site.

Best Reviews for Bing

Still not sure if Bing is for you? Neither were these tech experts. Read their reviews to see what worked, what didn’t, and what is best for you.
31. Bing, But No Boom: The experts at “Wired” magazine were given a test drive of Bing. Read about what they liked and get their recommendation. You can also get many other reviews and helpful information from this site.
32. Laurent Duveau: He is a Silverlight developer and technology expert. Read about why he likes Bing and even a few tips on how to use it. You can also get tips and tricks for other technologies.
33. Hands On With Microsoft’s Bing Search: The experts at “PC” magazine did a thorough review of Bing and shared their opinions. There are sections on interface, travel, shopping, and more. You can even get a slideshow, which walks you through Bing.
34. Hold Up The Bing Bandwagon: Gord Hotchkiss is the president of a search engine marketing firm. He reviews Bing and compares to some of the other more popular search engines. Gord even gives recommendations to Microsoft on how to improve their product.
35. Hands On: Microsoft Bing Review: TechRadar in the United Kingdom got a look at Bing and wrote a review about it. They enjoyed its ability to search impressively for images and videos, with the ability to play them without leaving Bing. However, they were unimpressed with some of its more basic searches.
36. Why Bing Sucks: Top 5 Reasons: Taranfx constantly blogs on the latest in technology. They recently previewed Bing and compared to Google for several days. See what worked, the five things that didn’t, and read the over 52 comments from readers with similar experience.
37. State of the Search: Are you interested in investing on which search engine will come out on top? Then read this review by Search Engine Land to see their predictions. This lengthy post analyzes Bing, Google, and even Yahoo, along with their futures. You can also get many useful links.

Best Downloads for Bing

Visit the below to easily add Bing to Firefox, or even to get downloads directly from Microsoft.
38. Downloads: Direct from Microsoft, you can choose from an array of various downloads. Get a product guide, MSN Toolbar with Bing, Internet Explorer 8, and others. You can even get Bing for your mobile devices.
39. Bing Add On: Got Firefox and want to search Bing without going to the home page? Then get this add on as a download complete with search suggestions. You can also read the user reviews to see if it right for you.
40. Bing & Google: Still can’t decide between Bing and Google? Then get this Firefox add on to do searches on both instantly. Results are displayed side by side.

Best Bing Downloads for Internet Explorer 8

Because both are from Microsoft, there are many impressive add ons to maximize both Bing and IE8.
41. Bing Add On: With a simple click, you can add Bing to Internet Explorer. It currently has a five star rating based on 20 reviews.
42. Weather from Bing: Instantly get the forecast for your city with this Bing add on. Simply enter the name, scroll over the tab once installed, and get instant weather information. For use only within the United States.
43. Bing Translator: If you are constantly visiting pages in different languages, this add on is for you. A pop up browser will easily translate any text on any page without having to navigate away from anything.
44. Bing Maps: Hate opening a new window to get a map? Then get this add on to quickly map any address inside Internet Explorer without starting a new search.
45. Shop and Save: The accelerator gives you instant information on the product you are looking for. You can get prices, cash back offers, and lots of help for stretching those dollars. You can even get reviews for the product before you buy.
46. Finance from Bing: Those interested in the latest financial news will love this add on. Simply type the ticker symbol into the browser and Bing displays rich stock information. You can even subscribe to this information as a Web Slice.
47. Bing Image Search: Does your research include looking for and through multiple images? Then try this add on to get a Bing image search tied in directly to Internet Explorer 8.
48. Traffic from Bing: Check traffic for just about any city in the United States with this add on. Simply type in your city and Bing will display a “Traffic for BLANK” tab. Scroll your mouse over to get a real time traffic map.
49. Define with Bing: Have a trusty dictionary by your desk or favorite online site? It might be time to put those away after getting this add on. Bing will define words, and even phrases, through this add on.
50. Bing Maps for Outlook: This service obtains online location, mapping, and routing information to help you plan your appointments and meeting requests. There is only one review so far and those who are cautious may want to wait before adding this.

Anyone who still has qualms about switching to Bing but are frustrated with their current search method will feel differently after checking out these 50 tips and tricks.

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Bing has cost Microsoft $5.5 billion since launch

When Microsoft first introduced the Bing search engine it was surprisingly good. People liked the way you could change the background of the homepage, it started generating traffic within days of launch, and looked to offer up some serious competition for Google.
But it looks as though Bing has been nothing but a major draw on Microsoft’s cash reserves since its launch in 2009. In just two short years Bing has cost Microsoft $5.5 billion. In return, it has gained a 14.7% share of the search market, half of which has come from the Microsoft-Yahoo! search deal.
Microsoft is quite experienced at entering a market late, spending a lot of money, and pushing its way into a strong position. You only have to look at its gaming business and the Xbox 360 in particular to see that first hand. But the worrying thing with regards to Bing is Microsoft’s market share grab has had no impact on its main competitor.

When Bing launched, Google Search had a 65% share of the market. Now, that share has dropped only slightly to 64.8%. In other words, while Bing is taking market share from other smaller players and partners, Google remains very strong and profitable in the search space.
Microsoft’s answer to turning billions of lost revenue into a profitable search business is to attempt to change how people search. Rather than the keyword searches we all rely on today, Microsoft wants natural language and questions asked instead. Although no specific examples were given, Microsoft also wants Bing to be more than just search, and with that will come revenue.
With Google continuing to look untouchable at the top of the search tree, Microsoft has a lot of work to do and probably billions more to invest if it intends to gain an equal footing with its rival. You also can’t discount Google’s role in all of this, and its continuing push to innovate both in and around search.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bing vs. Google: The Web Search Wars Heat Up

The search engine wars are back as Bing goes head-to-head with Google. With Microsoft's Bing jumping into second place in market share and assuming control of Yahoo's back-end search, the stage is set for a Google-Bing showdown.

In an attempt to throw aside preconceived notions, I've compared the most prominent search sections for Bing and Google, hoping that one of the engines would stand out as the winner. I invite you to do the same as you go through the list. (You'll find the full range of Bing's specialized search options on its Explore page. Google also has a page listing its services, both search and nonsearch.)

Basic Web Search

Here's the best way to think of Google vs. Bing in search: Google is laser-focused on its search results sending you to, hopefully, the most relevant Web pages, and it allows you to narrow results by date and location. It also indents results from the same Website for easy scanning. It's a powerful engine for delivering the best links, but it stays away from delivering its own information, such as explanations of people or things, directly in its search results.
Click to zoom.
Search results from Bing and Google are often similar.Bing is the opposite. Search for a company by name, and Bing gives you the stock price and customer service number. Search for "attractions in Chicago, IL," and you get a list of things to see there. Hover over a link, and you get an option to view some relevant text from the page. Sometimes, Bing even links to related search results, such as "Diabetes Symptoms" when you only search for "Diabetes."
Strictly in terms of the traditional "10 blue links," Google and Bing are fairly similar. (To see this for yourself, do a blind search and try to tell which engine is which.) I sometimes get better results from Google -- particularly when trying to recall a specific page from a specific site -- but the bigger difference between the sites is how they sort and deliver information. My vote goes to the engine with a no-nonsense ability to serve up good links.
Winner: Google


Click to zoom.

Google's image search enlarges thumbnails as you roll over them, making it more helpful.Bing and Google bring many of the same options to image search, such as "similar images," "more sizes," related searches and style options. Although Google includes some slightly obtrusive image ads, it offers a better interface than Bing, enlarging thumbnails as you scroll over them while showing the text that matches your search, and framing the image neatly when you click on it.
[Editor's Note: A previous version of this comparison inadvertently implied that Google first introduced cascading image search views. It was the author's intent to state that Google led the way in image search generally, though not with these specific features. As noted by some astute readers, it was Microsoft's Bing that first introduced these views, though we prefer Google's implementation.]
Winner: Google


As with images, Bing and Google offer similar customization options in video search, such as length, quality, and source, although Google has some extra options for closed captioning and recent uploads. Still, Bing excels overall here, with a grid of thumbnails that's a lot easier to navigate than Google's claustrophobic strip.
Winner: Bing

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Eye Tracking Bing vs. Google: A Second Look


Last year saw significant changes in the war between Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Google. Bing struck first when it began powering Yahoo!’s searches, thus accounting for nearly 25% of searches in the United States. Google then unveiled Google Instant, a new feature which predicts search terms before the user has even finished typing. However, even with these changes the search results pages remain much the same as does their requisite effectiveness at gaining and retaining attention.
The Original Study

When Microsoft launched Bing in 2009, User Centric conducted an eye tracking study to compare the amount and distribution of attention on Bing and Google search results pages. The most noteworthy difference between the two engines in this initial study was the amount of visual attention attracted by the sponsored links to the right of the organic results: 42% of participants looked at these links on Bing, while only 25% looked on Google. As expected, almost everyone (90% of participants) looked at the sponsored links above the organic search results in both engines. While information on the amount of attention on sponsored results may not be especially interesting to an everyday user, this information is vital to advertisers. Other findings included the relative disuse of Bing’s flyout feature as well as the greater attention received by Bing’s “related searches” over Google’s.
Evening the Playing Field

All participants in the original study were experienced Google users who had never used Bing, as Bing had come out only a couple of days prior to the study. Thus, the uncovered differences in attention between the two search engines could have been due to either interface differences or participants’ unequal familiarity levels with the two engines.
In this research, User Centric revisited the questions posed in the first examination about the amount and distribution of attention on search results pages. However, to obtain a clearer picture of how the engines compared, only experienced users of both Google and Bing were invited to the study.


Twenty-four Internet users between the ages of 18 and 54 participated in the study. Participants conducted an average of 48 online searches per week using both Bing and Google, with at least five searches per engine. Participants’ eye movements were recorded with the Tobii T60 eye tracker integrated in a 17-inch monitor.
During the study, each participant was asked to conduct eight searches: four using Google (without Google Instant) and four using Bing. Prior to each search, participants were provided with a reason for their search (via a scenario) and the exact search term they should enter. The search terms were identical to those used in User Centric’s original Google vs. Bing study, conducted in July 2009. Two of the searches were informational (“healthy food” and “landscaping”) and two were transactional (“engagement ring” and “last minute vacations”). To minimize order effects, the order of the search terms and the order of the engines were counterbalanced across participants.
Five areas of the search results interface were of interest: (1) sponsored results at the top, (2) sponsored results to the right of the organic search results, (3) organic search results, (4) left pane, and (5) on-hover flyouts (on Bing only).

The eye movement measures analyzed include the percentage of participants who looked at each of the areas of interest (i.e., hit rate) and the time these participants spent looking at these areas (i.e., gaze time). All differences reported in the Findings section are statistically significant at alpha level 0.1.

Google’s Top Sponsored Results Get More Attention than Bing’s

Approximately 90% of participants looked at the sponsored results above the organic results in each search task. This number was comparable between the two engines and did not differ from what was found in the original study. Unlike in the original study, however, participants spent more time looking at the top sponsored results area on Google (2.8 seconds per search task, on average) than on Bing (1.9 seconds). Google’s top sponsored results also received more gaze time per result – 0.9 seconds compared to 0.7 seconds that Bing’s sponsored results received.
More gaze time on Google’s sponsored results was likely due to the fact that, for the search terms used in this study, Google typically produced more information per link than Bing. The top sponsored results on Google tended to have two lines of descriptive text as compared to one on Bing, as well as the Google Checkout button next to some of the links. The additional information may be the reason participants spent more time in the top sponsored results.


No Difference in Attention on Sponsored Results on the Right

As expected, fewer participants looked at the sponsored results on the right side of the page – only 28% of participants looked at these results on Google and 21% on Bing. This numerical difference between the two percentages was not statistically significant.
While the hit rate on Google’s right sponsored results in the previous study (25%) was comparable to the hit rate in this study (28%), Bing’s hit rate was notably higher in the previous study (42% compared to 21%). Because the participants in the original study were unfamiliar with the Bing interface, it is reasonable to assume that “orienting behavior” was responsible for the right side attracting the attention of more participants than in the second study, in which experienced Bing users participated.

The search engines also did not significantly differ in terms of the total time participants spent looking at these results (4.4 seconds on Google and 3.0 seconds on Bing) or the time per result (0.16 seconds on Google and 0.11 seconds on Bing).

Users Spend More Time Viewing Google’s Organic Search Results

In both studies, 100% of participants looked at the organic search results in each search. In the original study, participants spent on average between 7.1 and 7.3 seconds looking at the organic results, and their gaze time did not differ between the two search engines. This finding, however, was not corroborated by the new data. In this study, the average time spent on organic results was much longer on Google (14.7 seconds) than it was on Bing (10.7 seconds). One possible interpretation is that Google search results had lower perceived relevancy and participants were having a more difficult time finding the information they were looking for on Google than on Bing.

Bing’s Left Pane Looked at Longer than Google’s

Since the original study was conducted in 2009, Google has added the left pane to its search results page. According to the findings of this study, the left pane on both Bing and Google was viewed by 17% - 18% of participants during each search, though participants spent more time looking on the left on Bing (2.9 seconds) than on Google (1.2 seconds). This was likely due to the fact that Bing’s left pane contained information more pertinent to the original search term, including a list of related searches, while Google’s left pane featured Google filters (e.g., Images, Videos, and News) and other links that were not relevant to the tasks in the study.

Flyouts on Bing Still Unnoticed and Underutilized

Bing’s on-hover flyouts were found to be similarly ineffective in this follow-up study as they were in the original study. Even though most participants in the original study triggered at least one flyout, almost all of these triggers were accidental (i.e., the participants’ gaze was directed elsewhere at the time the flyout was activated) and only a quarter of participants who were exposed to flyouts ever looked at one.
Flyouts appeared less frequently seen in the second study. Only a quarter of the study participants activated at least one flyout and all of them did it unintentionally. In addition, the activated flyouts failed to attract the attention of any of the participants.
Asked directly about flyouts at the end of the study, only 25% of participants reported ever using them, and 67% said they had never seen one prior to the study. A year and a half after Bing’s launch, two-thirds of participants with considerable experience using it did not even know about Bing’s most unique feature at the time.
Interestingly, Google has recently implemented similar functionality, Instant Preview, but activated with a click. These flyouts may be easier to notice due the color and larger size, but this is an area that will have to be further investigated.

Overall, Bing and Google were comparable in terms of participants’ hit rate on the different areas of the search results interface. Regardless of the search engine, visual attention was mainly focused on the middle column of the page, with all participants looking at the organic search results and almost all at the top sponsored results. The right and left panes attracted considerably less attention. Only about a quarter of the participants looked at the sponsored results to the right, and very few looked at the left pane which contained filters, related searchers, search history and other links.
The differences between the two engines emerged in the time participants spent looking at the different areas. Google’s top sponsored results received more gaze time than Bing’s. Other differences included Google receiving more gaze time on organic results and Bing on the left pane.

Advertising is all about maximizing attention. The results of this study suggest that advertisers should place their ads above the organic search results, where the hit rate was more than three times higher and gaze time more than five times longer than on the sponsored links on the right. When deciding between Bing and Google, advertisers should keep in mind that, ad placement among the top sponsored results on Google attracted 22% more attention than an equivalent placement on Bing.

As Google and Bing evolve, the amount of visual attention on their interfaces will ultimately shift as well. User Centric will continue to monitor the balance of power between the two dominant search engines and investigate any significant changes.
This research was managed by Aga Bojko, Associate Director. To access additional eye tracking articles and learn more about User Centric's eye tracking services, visit

Questions about the study? Contact Pamela Stoffregen-Gay at 630.320.3900.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Microsoft, RIM make strange bedfellows

Microsoft, RIM make strange bedfellows

Matt Hartley, Financial Post · May 4, 2011 | Last Updated: May 4, 2011 3:07 AM ET

ORLANDO, FLA . Research In Motion Ltd.'s new strategy could best be described as "keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Of the hundreds of firsttime attendees at RIM's annual BlackBerry World conference here Tuesday, none made a bigger splash than Microsoft Corp. chief executive Steve Ballmer.

The leader of the world's largest software company made a surprise appearance during RIM co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis' keynote to announce a deepening of the strategic partnership between the two unlikely allies.

Under terms of the new agreement, RIM will make Microsoft's Bing search engine and mapping technologies standard issue on all BlackBerry devices, a decision that sees the two former rivals further solidify their relationship in an effort to counter the growing influence of common rivals Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

"This goes way beyond a search box," Mr. Ballmer said during his appearance, adding that Microsoft's services would be "deeply integrated" into RIM's devices.

For RIM, the announcement is the latest in a string of recent realignments in the company's strategy.

That strategy will see Research In Motion begin to integrate its services with those of its rivals in an effort to reestablish its dominance in the smartphone industry.

Over the past two months, RIM has unveiled plans to allow Android applications to run on the new BlackBerry PlayBook, and on Monday took the wraps off a new service designed to enable its business clients to use BlackBerry technology to secure and manage non-BlackBerry devices, namely Apple's iPhones and Google Android devices, which are becoming more popular with RIM's core business user base.

The deal gives Microsoft the ability to increase mobile traffic to its Bing search engine on the strength of RIM's 60 million Blackberry users, freezing out rival Google in the process. Google is the default search engine on Apple's iPhone and most Android devices.

In March, Microsoft and RIM announced a joint venture known as BlackBerry Office 365, a cloud-based version of RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) that inte-grates with Microsoft's coming Office 365 service.

While neither company would say whether any money would change hands as a result of the Bing on BlackBerry agreement, analysts cautiously declared it a win for both.

"The move better positions both RIM and Microsoft against Google, and should deliver a tighter mapping and search experience on BlackBerrys," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said in a note to clients on Tuesday.

Before the launch of the iPhone in 2007, which kicked off Apple's ascendency in the smartphone world, such a partnership between RIM and Microsoft, two companies that fought for control over the enterprise smartphone market, would have seemed unlikely, if not impossible.

Although the two companies still compete for smartphone customers -Microsoft rebooted its mobile strategy with the Windows Phone 7 platform in November -they appear to have opted for a strategy that borrows from the old adage that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

"This relationship is about creating a more robust ecosystem quickly," said Kevin Restivo, Toronto-based senior mobile analyst with market research firm IDC.

"RIM and Microsoft seem like strange bedfellows on the surface, but both companies have pressing wireless needs that need to be filled quickly."

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Microsoft’s Bing Vs Google: Head To Head Search Results

Microsoft’s Bing Vs Google: Head To Head Search Results

Let’s just get it out of the way: no, Bing is not a “Google Killer.” It’s also safe to say that Microsoft doesn’t see it that way either. My understanding of what Microsoft believes it has in Bing is a much more competitive product than Live Search. I entirely agree.

Over the course of the next two or three weeks there will be countless articles and blog posts discussing Bing and whether or not it can dethrone Google. Microsoft has told me that the company sees Bing as a start (or restart) and that improvements will continue to roll out over time. One can be skeptical of that position or not. Regardless, Bing is a big advancement for Microsoft’s search efforts.

I’ve been using Bing (Kumo) off and on over that past couple of weeks. I’ve used it side by side with Google and by itself. In some cases I’ve been self-consciously testing and comparing results. At other times, I’ve simply used it to find information or navigate to desired sites.

Let me say that this post is not intended to be a detailed discussion of Bing’s “anatomy” and features. Danny and others will delve into those areas and may express different opinions and conclusions than I do here. As an aside, there are range of features that I like quite a bit; among them the “table of contents” that often appears in the upper left column (see graphic below) and the easily accessible search history, which will likely be further developed in interesting ways. (A Silverlight-enhanced version of search history adds more utility and even makes it social.)

My overall assessment is very positive. Kumo, now Bing, has performed well and I’ve been satisfied with the results. There haven’t been any significant deficiencies or missing links (so to speak). While there have been a few occasions where I’ve found Google results to be better, the substantial gap that existed between Google and Live Search is largely gone with Bing.

Microsoft has integrated the Powerset technology to varying degrees and made numerous algorithmic improvements on the “back end” that are largely opaque to me. More obvious are the interface upgrades and changes. While many people are accustomed — even habituated — to the Google UI, I appreciated the often richer visual presentation and generally “cleaner” organization of Bing SERPs.

So now you’re probably thinking will I start using Bing instead of Google?

To be candid I don’t see myself giving up Google, especially given the default Firefox browser integration. But I can also honestly say that while I almost never used Live Search except to write about it, I will indeed use Bing. Unfortunately you won’t be able to try it for yourself until next week when it goes live.

I cannot predict how you or others will react or whether Microsoft’s reportedly massive ad campaign for Bing will drive adoption. Advertising can generate awareness or curiosity but that’s about it. The bottom line is whether people find the results and their presentation to be compelling enough to actually use Bing.

So to provide a more concrete sense of Bing in advance of the launch, I conducted a range of basic searches that one might do in a given week and captured screens from both Google and Bing to offer a visual side-by-side comparison. The following are the queries that I used:

•Bing (couldn’t resist)
•Sonia Sotomayor
•George Clooney
•Hotels, New York
•Playoffs (NBA)
•Up (the movie)
•United Airlines
•Best sushi los angeles
And away we go . . .

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Microsoft and News Corp in discussions over Bing News

The Financial Times is reporting that Microsoft and News Corp has held discussions over a plan that would see Rupert Murdoch "de-index" his websites from Google.

Murdoch originally hinted at plans to charge for online content at sites such as The Sun, The Times or the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month the media giant said he may block his sites from Google's index entirely.

According to the Financial Times, "Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google's search engine." The FT sources an anonymous publisher who claims "this is all about Microsoft hurting Google's margins" and believes the plan "puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them".

The FT report comes a week after TechCrunch reported that Microsoft's Peter Bale, Executive Producer of MSN UK, held talks with representatives of newspaper publishers. According to TechCrunch "Microsoft plans to launch an assault on Google's flank, by cosying up to major content providers, especially newspapers, that feel hard done by Google News. It plans to use Bing as a way to entice them out of the Google eco-system, into one where, increasingly, the content of major newspapers could well be found more often on Bing than on Google."

If the plans are genuine and Microsoft is in secret talks with publishers then this could create a reason for many to switch from Google's news service to Microsoft's Bing News. If the deals extend beyond just news, offering publishers top spots in searches, then the effects are undeniably big..

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