Microsoft’s Bing search engine has announced the roll out of a new feature. Now when you search from Bing, you can get access to the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine. The Wolfram Alpha engine was developed by noted scientist Stephen Wolfram. It launched in May of 2009.
Wolfram Alpha tends to be a little on the confusing side. It makes sense to integrate it into a more consumer oriented engine where people might get some use out of it. One possible use scenario highlighted by Microsoft is that of tracking health and nutrition.
Say you need to know the nutritional value of a steak, now Bing can tell you in detail. Already ate it? Bing can also use the Wolfram Alpha algorithms to determine your BMI and compare it to the rest of the population, thus making you sorry you ate the steak. Of course, you can still do all the complex math calculations that Wolfram Alpha is known for, but who really needs that in Bing? So, does any of this sound useful to you?
Microsoft has revamped its Bing Video interface, and over the next few days will be rolling out a new unified online video destination, the software maker announced. The overhauled service, which meshes MSN Video with Bing, promises to be more organized and contain plenty of high-quality content.
"With the New Bing Video you can now access videos from across the web, MSN's array of high-quality videos, and videos from sites such as Hulu, ABC, and YouTube," Microsoft said on its Bing blog. "Bing videos viewing options are nearly endless."
Microsoft said its video portal grants users access to over 900 television shows, all of which it says are organized and easy to sort through, even if the episode you're looking for is from last season. Users will also be able to share videos, and the portal now includes a 'dim the lights' feature.
Give Bing Videos a peek here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Microsoft's Bing and JiWire have a proposition for you. Free WiFi in exchange for using Bing. Interested? The promotion would give users free Internet access at participating hotspots if they do just one search with Bing. In conjunction with JiWire’s advertising network, Microsoft will be extending the offer to various hotels and airports.
The campaign was started in September at several thousand locations. It managed to attract between 30 and 40 percent of visitors to the hotspots. This is extremely high, as most ads only get interaction from 0.1 to 0.2 percent of people. Microsoft reportedly plans to continue with the promotion, which is a part of JiWire’s Ads for Access campaign. The campaign allows companies to give customers something in exchange for their time. This can be taking a survey, watching a video ad, or (in this case) using the Bing search engine.
The next time you’re in an airport, keep an eye out for these ads. It could get you free access courtesy of a certain Redmond software giant.
If there were an office pool on how low can Microsoft stoop, the winner would be the guy who picked this. Microsoft was able to get middle schoolers at the Keith Valley Middle School in Pennsylvania to perform the Bing jingle, and on camera. The horror!
MG Siegler, over at TechCruch, rates the Bing Jingle as bad. Scratch that--he says it’s real bad. And it’s hard to disagree, with lyrics like “bing goes the internet.” (Actually, that’s the only lyric.) This detritus won top place in a Microsoft-sponsored contest. I shudder to think what came in second.
First, the internet does not go “bing.” (Or anything else for that matter). Second, I think Microsoft’s jingle is a strong argument for a moratorium on jingles for the internet. Sock puppet dogs--okay. Insipid jingles--not okay. Let’s nip it in the bud before it goes viral.
It’s not known what the school in Pennsylvania received in return for subjecting its students to this abomination. Enough, I hope, for the adults involved to sleep well, because these kids are going to have nightmares for years to come.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, was quick to offer some assurances about what would, and what would not become public. According to Ms. Sandberg “only people who have agreed to share their updates with everyone on the web will have their updates streamed to Bing.”
Facebook, which tallies over 45 million status updates per day from 30 million unique visitors, is following a path forged by Twitter, which earlier announced a deal with Microsoft and Google to make tweets searchable. Unlike the Twitter deal, however, Facebook says no money will be changing hands between it and Microsoft.
Microsoft announced today at the Web 2.0 Summit that it would integrate Twitter and Facebook streams into its online search engine, Bing.
So what does this mean to you the average interweb surfer? Well, it’s bringing closer to realization the idea of a “real-time web”. When you search for things now, you will find content that could be days, months, or years old. However, in a real-time web scenario your searches could yield results with up-to-the minute accuracy. Expos with revealing keynotes, product unveilings, and travel information all can benefit from minute-by-minute updates like tweets and Facebook status updates. The Facebook integration is still a work in progress, but twitter results are live as of today.
By the way, did I mention Google also signed the exact same deal with Twitter today? They will be working tweet results into their regular search results over the next few months. They haven’t given any indication that they are working on a deal with Facebook.
It is worth nothing that Facebook and Google do not get along very well. Therefore, hanging on to Facebook exclusively might be Microsoft’s ace-in-the-hole by providing results you can’t get anywhere else, inevitably driving up its market share.
Microsoft still has a long ways to go before it catches up with Google in the search market, but the company's Bing search service shows tremendous promise as the fastest-growing U.S. search engine among the top 10, according to data from Nielsen.
In the month of August, Bing scoured the web 1.1 billion times, a jump of 22.1 percent over July. That was enough to give the search service a 10.7 percent share of the search engine market, edging ever closer to Yahoo, which dropped down 4.2 percent and now holds a 16 percent stake.
For the time being, Google enjoys a comfortable lead with a 64.6 percent share and 7 billion searches in August, but it has to be concerned with Bing's rapid upward climb. Moreover, a recent study indicates that users prefer the design and feature-set of Bing over Google, which should give the No. 1 search company cause for concern.
Just recently Microsoft enabled their flagship search engine Bing with a new feature – visual search. The new Silverlight-enabled feature will allow users to browse through one of 50 specific search results (it will be expanded in the future) by means of pictures that rearrange themselves according to your query.
Searches such as “U.S. Politicians,” “NFL Teams,” and “New cars” are already on the visual search site. And, as you refine your query from one of the visual searches available, thumbnails that don’t match yours will fly off the screen, and the rest will reshuffle to fill in the blank spaces.
If you want to give it a try, be sure to install Silverlight and direct your browser here.
Food and beverage manufacturers have for long employed blind taste tests as a marketing gimmick. A Microsoft employee, Michael Kordahi, appears to have taken a leaf out of their marketing handbook. He has developed a website called Blind Search that lets the user query three different search engines simultaneously.
It presents the search results from the three search engines in as many unmarked columns. The user has to vote for the search engine that “best matches your search query.” The choice is between Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Google is the most popular browser with 41% votes, according to the data Kordahi has compiled hitherto. Bing is currently placed second with 31%, with Yahoo enduring the ignominy of the last spot with 28%. Given that Microsoft and Yahoo have inked a search engine partnership, it is interesting to note that the majority of the visitors actually dislike Google. Kordahi asserts that Blind Search is his personal initiative, independent from Microsoft’s influence.
Two weeks ago to the day, Microsoft kicked off a contest inviting participants to sing a jingle about Bing with the stipulation that videos could be no longer than 5 minutes long. It did not stipulate that videos couldn't suck, which doesn't matter anyway, unless the winning entry truly was the best submission Microsoft received.
Jonathan Mann, known on YouTube as "The Rock Cookie Bottom," will receive $500 for winning the Bing Jingle contest, and everyone who watches it gets to die a little inside.
"His concept from the beginning was to have fun and make it a bit silly," Microsoft wrote on its Bing Community blog. "He thought the idea of searching for "Learn how to dance like Jonathan" while dancing in the foreground would be pretty hilarious. And lucky for us it was both catchy and funny! Jonathan's Bing jingle was his 202nd song."
View the winning submission here, and if you like it, we suggest also watching this and this.