With the exception of a few yahoos, when most of us think about searching the web, we’re thinking about Google. While Mountain View may be able to fulfill the bulk of our search-related needs, there’s no harm in mixing it up a bit. When looking for an alternative to Google, you could do a lot worse than giving Bing a try. While only a few years old, Microsoft’s upstart information-seeking darling has managed to incorporate a number of user-friendly features into the service’s already impressive set of capabilities. Care to give Bing a spin? We’ve put together 10 of our favorite Bing tips for you to trick out your browsing experience with.
Google is constantly tweaking its fabled search algorithm. In fact, according to the search giant, the changes are so numerous and so subtle that a vast majority of them are never announced and seldom noticed. But the latest update is huge. How big you might ask? Well, big enough to impact 11.8% of all search queries. The update seeks to punish low-quality sites by reducing their visibility in search rankings. Hit the jump for more on this update.
Google Instant is arguably one of the biggest changes to the search engine landscape since Google went mainstream back in 1998, but analysts are starting to question if it was really to enhance the user experience, or if it was simply a cash grab. Search management platform provider Marin Software who is responsible for over $1.3 billion in online advertising investments has just released their updated stats, and it appears as though Google might just be on to something here. Marin claims paid ad impressions have risen by 9 percent, and the actual click through rate has increase by more than 5 percent. These stats translate into what is estimated to be a 2 percent increase in overall revenues for Google, through even this is open to debate.
Google is a public company, so the motivation to increase profits is a foregone conclusion, however Google denies instant search was a profit driven decision. A Google spokesperson told eWEEK they wouldn’t comment on “individual firms or campaigns”, however they did have a few choice words for the so-called “analysts”. "We launched Instant because it's so much better for the user. In fact, from a revenue standpoint, its impact has been very minimal; and from a resource standpoint, it's actually pretty expensive. So why did we do it? Well, we believe from a user standpoint, Instant is outstanding and the data that we are seeing actually bears this out."
So now that you’ve seen both sides of the coin do you think Google Instant was a revenue play, user driven, or a bit of both?
You may already be familiar with Dynamite Data through the company's Firefox plugin, which crawls through cyberspace to see if it can locate a better deal on items than the one you're viewing at, say, Newegg for example. The plugin works fast, and to ensure it always will, Dynamite Data has entered an agreement with OCZ to let the latter provide SSDs to boost server performance.
"Disk I/O is the fundamental bottleneck of any data heavy business," delcared Kristopher Kubicki, Chief Architect at Dynamite Data. "We could not scale without reductions in storage latency, and the best way to get that today is with OCZ SSDs."
Dynamite Data says it extracts more than 10,000 webpages per minute, roughly the equivalent of downloading content from 17 million webpages per day. This, the company says, causes considerable disk strain, and using conventional hard drives penalizes the process. By switching to OCZ's SSDs, Dynamite Data says it's able to deliver data processing in real-time without any lag.
Yahoo has finished transitioning its search back-end to Microsoft's search platform in North America, the two companies announced Tuesday. A week is all it took for the entire process to be completed. It was quite an inimitably productive week for Bing: Microsoft's share of the US search market nearly tripled. This is the first concrete step the two companies have taken on their way to implementing the 10-year search and ad deal they both agreed to last year.
“Yahoo! Web, Image, and Video search experiences on both desktop and mobile devices are now powered by the Microsoft platform in the US and Canada (English), with more markets to come. The speed in which this was completed is a testament to the great work and partnership between a number of Yahoo! and Microsoft employees, the ranks of which are numerous,” said Shashi Seth, senior VP of Yahoo search products.
It only takes a tiny fraction of a second for search engines to answer queries but Google is not satisfied with the current state of affairs. The search engine titan is now experimenting with instantaneous search. The idea is to provide dynamic search results that change with each new character the user types into the search box. SEO consultant Rob Ousbey was the first to report about this “streaming” search experiment.
“Earlier today, I noticed that my Google results were centered in the middle of the page. This evening, I spotted that you don't even need to hit the 'Search' button anymore - Google updates the results for you while you're typing,” Ousbey wrote on his blog.
Even though it took a few hours, Google has since confirmed the news. “At any given time we are running between 50-200 search experiments. You can learn more on our blog,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch.
According to comScore’s latest report on the US search market, Bing continued its recent upward trend during the month of June as well. Its share of the US search market increased 0.6 percent to reach 12.7 percent. Even Yahoo grew by an identical margin to finish the month with 18.9 percent.
Among the top four search engines, market leader Google was the only one that shed market share. Its share of the core search market decreased 1.1 percent during the month. comScore attributed Microsoft and Yahoo’s recent gains “to the continued utilization of contextual search approaches that tie content and related search results together.”
Google’s face-off with Chinese authorities and subsequent exit from that country left local search provider Baidu with virtually no competition. In fact, Google’s exit couldn’t have come at a better time for China’s top online search provider, which was beginning to face some stiff resistance Google.
Baidu just posted its first quarter results and they seem to suggest that it is doing a good job of devouring around 40 percent of the market that had Google written all over it until not a long ago. Compared to the same period last year, its net income shot up by 165% to $70.4 million during the first quarter. Revenues also witnessed a year-over-year increase of 59.6 percent to reach $189.6 million.
Last week we reported that Google's China talks may soon be coming to a close, and CEO Eric Schmidt even hinted to reporters at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit that "something would be happening soon". Well, if you believe the Financial Times, Google is about 99.9% sure it is going to pull the plug on China. Wired.com attempted to contact a Google spokesman for a comment, however they would neither confirm or deny the report. According to the Times, Google has drawn up a detailed plans for how it will exit the Chinese market, and is poised to execute.
If Google does pull out of China, the action plan is no doubt intended to protect local employees from retaliation by authorities. It is still unknown if they intend to push ahead with their plans to un-filter Google.cn, but Chinese authorities made a very stern and public warning to the company on Friday. "If you don't respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you," said China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong.
According to the Financial Times Google is exploring every option to keep its Chinese businesses afloat, but is wary of the backlash from authorities which may make this all but impossible. "It's very important to know we are not pulling out of China," Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, told the Financial Times at the time. "We have a good business in China. This is about the censorship rules, not anything else."
The Bing team has decided that one thing that will help to simplify our day, other than a recipe for chicken marengo, is investment data. In particular, reports for U.S. stocks and funds. According to the Bing Community Blog, all you need do is “enter a ticker in the search box e.g MSFT. Note our "Instant Answer" on top which provides basic data about the firm. If you click on the "Investor Data" tab on the left you go into our finance page.”
And, sure enough, checking out a few company ticker symbols, Bing dutifully reports stock results at/near the top of the search results. (It will appear under sponsored sites, if there are any.)
This addition to Bing already exists on Yahoo!, and, albeit a bit hit-and-miss, on Google. While this will make life “easier” for Bing users, whether it is enough to differentiate Bing from the search engine crowd and attract new users is an open question.