Don't let Google scare you into thinking they're the only search engine out there. Microsoft's Bing offers users a solid, user friendly engine with a ton of features that set it apart from the competition. In this article, we're going to dissect Microsofts patented search engine and bring you some basic tips to help get you started. We'll also run you through some of Bings more distinct features, including 3D map capabilities and Microsoft's Photosynth system.
Is the stock Google homepage looking just a little too bland these days? Google has maintained the same minimalist look for it entire history, with only the occasional doodle to liven things up. This is the polar opposite of Bing, which busts out snazzy images every day. Well, now you can add a custom background image to Google.com.
Won't this basically destroy the nifty minimalist aspect of the Google homepage? Probably. But no one says you have to pick a busy image, or that you have to use the feature at all. The new feature is currently rolling out and should be available to everyone in a few days. Check the lower left corner of the page to see if you have the option yet. We wouldn't be surprised to see corporations start branding the Google homepage just because they can.
Do you plan to change your Google background, or is the stock look best?
Using Bing as a verb doesn't exactly roll off the tongue as fittingly as Google, but don't be surprised if you hear people doing it anyway. Microsoft's revamped search engine continues to gain in market share, while Google has come to halt.
"I do hear people saying 'I Binged it,'" says Danny Sullivan, who heads up the search analysis website Search Engine Land.
According to comScore, Bing searches are up 4 percent since its launch last year, while Google's share has remained flat at 64 percent. That's quite a turnaround from Microsoft's pre-Bing days, when the company's search share fell eight percent from 2004 to 2009. And in terms of monetary value, most of Microsoft's $6 billion in losses from its online business division were related to search, BusinessWeek reports.
None of this means Bing is going to catch up with Google, but that isn't necessarily the goal in the first place. You might remember that Microsoft and Yahoo struck a deal in late 2009 to have Bing power Yahoo's searches, and if both search sites don't give up any ground, Bing will power almost 30 percent of all searches.
"At that size, advertisers can't ignore them," says Matt Rosoff, an analyst with market research firm Directions for Marketing.
Let's get one thing straight - Google remains comfortably ahead of the competition in the search wars, at least domestically, and probably will for a long while to come. But if Google wants to keep it that way, they can ill afford to become complacent, the mistake Microsoft made in the browser wars with Internet Explorer, which could realistically give up its position as the most used browser on the planet in the next few years.
Lest anyone accuse us of making a mountain out of a mole hill, both Yahoo and Bing continue to encroach into what has historically been Google's territory. According to net analytics firm comScore, Yahoo's US search share jumped from 16.9 percent in March to 17.7 percent in April, or nearly a full percentage point in a single month.
During the same time frame, Bing's US search share went up slightly, growing from 11.7 percent to 11.8 percent, representing the 11th straight month of small gains. Between the two, however, Yahoo and Bing claim almost a third of the US search market. Google still leads the way, but while the other two move up the search share ladder, Google dropped slightly from 65.1 percent in March to 64.4 percent in April.
As they say on the streets, watch your back Google.
Comscore has released its March U.S. search engine market share numbers, and the results might surprise you. While the vast majority of the Internet still turns to Google for search (65.1%), Bing has posted an aggressive share gain hitting a record 11.7%. What's even more interesting is that it turns out most of the hit came from ex-googler's as Yahoo's fortunes also nudged up ever so slightly to 16.9%.
Microsoft's growth in the search engine market has been slow and steady since the Bing rebranding, but its refreshing to see their might actually be some competition left in the search market. Its hard to imagine that this trend could continue indefinitely, but as we all know healthy competition is great news no matter which way you look at it. For those keeping score this is also the tenth straight month of share gains for Bing.
In a blog post this week, Microsoft announced plans to begin testing some Bing features the company plans to start rolling out later this spring and summer.
"When we launched last June, one of the ways we helped customers get to better decisions was by providing a more visual, more intuitive, and more organized experience," Microsoft said. "This spring we will continue this evolution by making some changes to our user experience and providing new experiences throughout search."
One of those changes includes testing new design concepts, such as moving the Quick Tabs functionality to the top of the page, but it's not all about rearranging the layout. Microsoft will also experiment more with real-time results, so that when "you search for a publication such as the New York Times, Bing not only gives you quick access to specific sections of the destination website, but also provides the most popular shared links from that publication."
Read the full list of changes here, and then hit the jump and tell us which one you're most looking forward to.
Bing Maps just keeps getting cooler -- some would say more so than Google Maps -- and the latest trick will appeal to star gazers and armchair astronomers alike. Evolving from a client-based app to a Silverlight web-based implmentation, the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) project is now a Bing Mapps app.
"The WorldWide Telescope application allows you to view most of the features available in the Silverlight client right in Bing Maps," Chris Pendleton a Bing Maps Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "Yes, the WWT provides real time information about how the space is moving over the Earth. This provides context for where celestial entities are in real time if you were to look up at the night sky."
To try it out for yourself, just head over to Bing Maps and click the Map Apps button in the lower left. Select WorldWide Telescope (first row) and start gazing! If you want to jump straight to the stars, click on Start Here and drop the telescope icon anywhere on the map. As you drag the map, Bing will tell you which constellation you're looking at.
"Now, if you want the SUPER COOL effect you saw Blaise Arcas y Aguera demonstrate at TED you can just click on one of the collections which zips you down to Earth and changes the map stype to Streetside (where available)," Pendleton explains. "Once you're on the ground, just look up!"
comScore’s Core Search Report for February shows Goggle by far in the lead of search providers with 65.5 percent of all search queries, edging up slightly from its January total of 65.4 percent. Yahoo! was in second place with 16.8 percent of all search queries, down from 17.0 percent. Number three Bing was still number three with 11.5 percent of all searches, which was 0.2 points higher than in January.
The big deal here, if there is one, is Bing’s progress since its introduction last summer. It has constantly increased its share of the search query pie. The pace has been slow, but it has also been steady. And, at this rate of growth, it will only take 99 more months before Bing brings search giant Google to its knees.
Let’s just assume that you prefer not to trust the big G with your data. Where are you supposed to go for your online mapping needs? As it turns out, Bing Maps is a perfectly acceptable alternative. With the most recent update, it’s gotten potentially even more useful thanks to the addition of about 6.7 million square kilometers of aerial imagery.
We’ve always had a fondness for Bing’s visual style, which is frankly more polished than Google Maps. It is a bit slower than Google, but that’s just a small tradeoff. The aerial and bird’s eye views are some of the coolest features, and we expect they’ve been helped by the addition of all that image data. The vast majority of the new data is for the aerial view (a top down angle). There’s much less for the bird’s eye view (an oblique angle). It’s good to see Microsoft continuing to invest in their Bing Maps, but is anyone really using it over Google? If you prefer Bing Maps, let us know why in the comments.
In January, there were murmurs of Bing replacing Google as the default search provider on the Apple iPhone. The Gregorian calender has moved to March at its traditional pace and nothing has happened on that front. But Google Search is now on the verge of getting snubbed on its own turf: Android. If you are unaware, Android is coming to AT&T in the form of the Motorola Blackflip, which is scheduled to hit stores on March 7, 2010. But Google will be a little less excited about the launch now, for the carrier is said to have removed Google as the default search provider “throughout” the phone and opted for Yahoo instead.
“Yahoo has replaced Google as the default search provider throughout the phone. It's crazy: the home screen widget, the browser, everything's been programmed to use Yahoo. We love us some irony, but golly, we'd prefer Google searches most of the time,” Engadget's Chris Ziegler wrote on the blog after unboxing the phone.
It is no secret that Google is the world's most popular search provider by a long distance. It is difficult to imagine why smartphone users may want to use Yahoo or any other search engine over Google. However, in case there is even an iota of doubt over Google's popularity among smartphone users, it is best to leave the choice to the users themselves. Search engine ballot, anyone?