Microsoft's revamped and rebranded search decision engine has been doing so well that you hate to see something like this happen. But in the evening hours last night, Bing fell flat on its face for about 30 minutes, during which time users were either unable to get to the site, or received incomplete results pages to queries.
"The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences," Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President, Online Service Division, wrote on the official Bing Team blog. "As soon as the issue was detected, the change was rolled back, which caused the site to return to normal behavior. Unfortunately the detection and rollback took about half an hour, and during that time uses were unable to use bing.com."
Nadella went on to say that they're running a post mortem to find out what improvements need to be made to their software and processes so this doesn't happen again.
Murdoch has long made it known that he deserves compensation for the content he provides online, and is actively pursuing ways to generate revenue more directly than advertising. The Wall Street Journal, for example, requires paid subscription for full access (although there are ways around this). However, the online market hasn’t been kind to those who put up such barriers. Apparently Murdoch believes that a leader is needed to make the first bold move, after which others will follow. “We will lead. There is a pent up need for this,” said Miller. There is also a pent up need for News Corp. to get its hands on a bit of the advertising revenue Google’s search engines generate, and which News Corp doesn’t share in.
Miller was dismissive of Google’s importance, at least for the News Corp.: “The traffic which comes in from Google brings a consumer who more often than not read one article and then leaves the site. That is the least valuable of traffic to us… the economic impact is not as great as you might think. You can survive without it.”
Google’s response was as expected: “Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don't.”
Whether News Corp can survive without Google is a question only pulling the plug will answer. It remains to be seen if News Corp. will follow through on their threat.
In what some might see as an irrelevant move in the search genre, Yahoo upgraded its search capabilities and deployed them to most of the world. They announced today on the Yahoo Search blog a slew of new features and a slick new layout for their search engine.
One key feature of the upgrade lives in the additional left column where “intelligent search results” help you to explore other relevant sites and drill-down your result set based on popular keywords. Yahoo implemented “SearchScan,” which helps protect from viruses, malware and spam. They also boasted that they have increased response and search times all over the site. You can find a full listing in detail of the upgrade deployment on the Yahoo search blog.
This might be too little too late as the justice department is inspecting an agreement to shift most Yahoo search efforts over to Microsoft. The upgrades bear striking resemblance to Bing’s results pages, perhaps this is a transitional effort.
How relevant do you think Yahoo is in the internet search industry? What do you think of Yahoo’s improvements?
The search giant may feel able to snatch skittish talent from Yahoo as the Microsoft deal closes. Microsoft has agreed to take on 400 Yahoo employees, but no assurances have been made beyond that. Given the uncertainty, many may be willing to jump ship for Google.
Ask.com has also been going after these employees. At a recent expo, Ask called out Yahoo employees with a banner reading, “My company just gave up on search. Where do I work now?”
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.
What does a search engine have to do in order to pry users away from Google? We're not sure, but maybe more people will come if they think there will be punch and pie. Building a better (arguably) search engine isn't enough, according to a new study.
In a small case study, Catalyst Group found that users preferred the design and feature-set of Microsoft's Bing over that of Google. However, those same users said they would stick with Google, citing similar search results and familiarity with the search engine's Web services as reasons why.
"Bing generates interests, but it's hard to take me away from Google because I'm so comfortable with it," the subjects who chose Google told Catalyst researchers. "The differences are very small. They're too small for me to switch to Bing."
It should also be noted that the case study only including 12 participants.
As expected, Bing, Microsoft's search decision engine, shot up the charts following its public debut and quickly became the No. 2 search engine behind Google. But before Microsoft could pop the champagne on what looked to be a stellar start, Bing bounced out of second place just one day later, conceding the No. 2 spot back to Yahoo.
More specifically, Bing claimed 15 percent of the U.S. search market on June 4th compared to Yahoo's 10 percent. But on June 5th, Microsoft's decision engine fell to 10 percent while Yahoo rose to just shy of 11 percent, enough to put it back in second place. As of yesterday, Bing had fallen to 6.68 percent while Yahoo rose to 11.33 percent, nearly a 5 percent difference between the two.
Bing continues to fall, checking in at 5.65 percent so far today. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can reverse the downward trend now that the initial excitement has worn off, and justify spending between $80-$100 million advertising its decision engine.
Ready, aim, SPEND! That's the approach Microsoft is planning for Bing, its new search engine, Advertising Agereports. How much coin is Redmond prepared to spend to market Bing (previously code-named Kumo)? Somewhere is the $80-100 million range, Ad Age says, compared to Google's non-recruitment ad spending in 2008 of around $13 million. But, can spending 6-8 times as much as Google give Bing the jump it needs?
Microsoft's ad push (helmed by ad-agency powerhouse JWT) will not, unlike the recent anti-Apple campaign, mention Microsoft's search rivals - instead, the planned ads will ask consumers if search works as well as they'd like.
How about the product itself?
People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them).
When will Bing shove aside Live Search? The Register says "June," and also suggests keeping an eye on the D: All Things Digital conference this week for more details.
It’s expected that Microsoft’s search engine rebrand will soon make its official debut.
The official announcement for Kumo is expected to come at the D: All Things Digital Conference next week, where CEO Steve Ballmer is currently scheduled to appear onstage.
With the rebranding Microsoft hopes to gain a new foothold in the search engine market that they currently only have an 8.2 percent market share in. They’ve got some pretty stiff competition as well, considering that Google’s search engine market share is a whopping 64.2 percent.
For most users, Microsoft's Live Search is little more than a default setting on new installations of Internet Explorer. This perception is part of why Microsoft has always struggled to gain market share against Google & Yahoo who both hold the number 1 & 2 positions by a fairly large margin. Microsoft has struggled to come up with a strategy for sometime now, but it seems clear that its new strategy is to shed the past by dropping the Windows Live brand in favour of Kumo.
The timeframe for the redesign has been kept secret so far, but according to a forum posting on Neowin, Microsoft has started a clock in the lobby of its search headquarters that is counting down to June 2nd. This date, coincidentally enough, coincides with a speech being given by the head of Microsoft's online servi
ces division at the Search Engine Expo in Seattle. It is here that Dr Qi Lu is expected to formally announce Kumo and demonstrate the upgrades to the search engine. The timing also lines up well with a new ad campaign which is planned for the summer. So far Microsoft hasn't commented on Kumo specifically, and executives have hinted that it is but one of several names being considered at this point.
Early screen shots show several potential improvements that will allow searches to be broken down by relevant categories, making it easier to find information when you search for more general terms. For example; if you search for “Microsoft”, Kumo might give you a category for Windows, Office, Xbox, etc.
What do you think of Kumo as a brand name? What would you call it? And finally, will this get you to use Microsoft Search?