Google Now made its debut in Android Jelly Bean, however, work has begun to bring its features to desktop Chrome.
Google Now was named Popular Science’s “Innovation of the Year” for 2012, and it’s well deserved. Google’s intelligent personal assistant is nothing short of astonishing. Apple users might want you to believe Siri is superior, however, few users who have experienced both would likely agree. Google has a huge head start when it comes to voice recognition accuracy, and when it comes to understanding and presenting relevant information, there is simply no contest. Google Now has been exclusive to Jelly Bean devices, however, it looks like the company is getting ready to roll out at least a few of these features to desktop Chrome.
Windows 8 is far and away the most “Bing Centric” operating system to ever come out of Redmond, and if adoption is as brisk as Microsoft hopes, Google should be quite nervous. Novice users might get sucked into Microsoft’s cloud by accident, and considering how great all the new services are, Google risks never getting them back. So what’s the solution? A hilarious new video showing how to “Get Your Google Back”.
The geek community at large seems to be pretty loyal to the Google brand, however, out what seems like nowhere, Bing is finally picking up steam. According to a Hitwise report, Bing now accounts for 30% of all U.S. web searches, and most of their gains seem to have come at the expense of Google.
When Eric Cartman prettied himself up in makeup and started shouting "Whatever! I'll do what I want!" on a fictional Maury Povich talk show, he and South Park's creators were flexing the freedom of speech rights allowed to everyone in the United States. Now, Google may be getting ready to do what it wants, too; the company recently commissioned a report by a First Amendment scholar who concluded that Google's search engine results are constitutionally protected speech and shouldn't be subject to government anti-trust regulations.
Thank the internet gods for search engines. Without tools like bing, Google or blekko, no one would stand a chance of finding anything online. Prompted by just a few keystrokes, their powerful blend of math, ingenuity, and unicorn tears bring the world to our doorsteps. Unfortunately, search engines are so good at their jobs that they sometimes bring us way more of the world than we want them to. Thanks to content farms, reblogging, and other search result padding endeavors, it’s getting more difficult by the day to locate the information that you’re after. To solve this issue, you can dust off those Boolean skills of yours and input a set of search parameters as long as your arm, or if you’re a Google Chrome user, you can install Personal Blocklist, our Browser Extension of the Week.
Analytics company comScore has recently been seeing an increase in the share of the search market claimed by Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo. But according to the stat tracker, both companies are using some shady practices to game the system. Both search engines have been placing links on their web pages that are actually search queries. So when a user clicks them, it appears they did a search on the company's search engine. Yahoo and Microsoft image slideshows too have been engineered to show up as searches. ComScore is now saying they will try to correct for this practice.
ComScore plans to continue as normal for the rest of the quarter, but as early as July they could start shaking things up. In a statement comScore said the issue, "calls for a thoughtful review of how we classify various types of searches, count them and report them." Could it be some of Bing's notable gains are ill-gotten? Wee'll be watching to see if next quarter's numbers tell a different story.
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.
And advantage is an advantage, no matter how slight, and no matter how you come by it. Microsoft is using the ‘coerced’ limiting of its retention of search information by the European Union (EU), as a one-up against Google in the search-engine war.
Microsoft has agreed to a policy change for the retention of search requests on Bing, its newly launched search engine: six months rather than 18 months. The data retained by Microsoft consists of IP addresses (which can identify specific users on the Internet), and search terms. This data is used to improved the quality of Bing, as well as develop auxiliary services that enhance the search experience. Microsoft also claims this shorter retention period will better protect user privacy.
Google, on the other hand, just cut its data retention rate to nine months. While shorter than before, this is three months longer than the EU recommendation for data retention and Microsoft’s new data retention policy. Google defends its policy, stating: “Data from our search queries represents a crucial arm in our battle to protect the security of our services against hacks and fraud. It also represents a critical element allowing us to help users by innovating and improving the quality of our searches.”
While both Microsoft and Google claim they are motivated by user security, Microsoft says that Google's policy is not only riskier, but proves Google values less its users than does Microsoft. If you want your privacy protected, says Microsoft, you should be using Bing.
If privacy protection is your concern then your best bet is to avoid Google and Microsoft, and head over to Yahoo. Google doesn’t appear likely to budge on its policy anytime soon. Microsoft says it will take 12 to 18 months to figure out how to store data for six months rather than 18. Yahoo, on the other hand, says it will only keep your data for three months--a policy which its already implemented.
Search engines are incredibly useful tools for finding stuff of interest on the Internet. But each time a search engine is used a little bit of you is collected and stored for analysis: your IP address and the terms you’ve searched. Collectively, your search habits can tell quite a bit about you, which raises privacy concerns. How will this data be used? How long will it be kept? The latter question is important because not only does it allow a search engine provider a clearer picture of you, it means the data is lying about where other, less scrupulous people, might get their hands on it. Thus is set the stage for a confrontation: search engine provides who want to collect and keep as much data as they can, versus governments acting to protect the privacy interests of their citizens.
The European Union (EU) is a bit of a stickler on privacy. Under its Article 29 Data Protection Working Party it recommends companies keep the data they collect no longer than six months. Microsoft, the provider of the Bing search engine, however, keeps its users’ query data for 18 months. The EU, naturally, wanted an explanation for this lengthy data retention. Rather than pick another fight with the EU, Microsoft has announced it will lower its data retention period to the EU’s recommended six months.
Microsoft’s policy change will take 12 to 18 months to initiate. Microsoft wants to make sure its new data collection and retention system will be secure. Microsoft, in capitulation, also asked the playing field be leveled--that all search engine providers be forced to comply so none would be disadvantaged. Microsoft’s request was targeted, most likely, at Google, which has a nine month retention policy.
Trying to convince the world that “Binging” things on the Internet is as catchy as “Googling” is challenging enough, but now Microsoft will need to fight for the right to keep its name. Bing! Information Design LLC has filed a suit against Microsoft in the Circuit Court of St. Louis alleging, “trademark infringement, unfair competition, and tortuous interference with business expectancy”.Bing! Information design claims they have been using the trademark since early 2000, while Microsoft only began using it around 6 months ago.
The lawsuit is seeking “actual and punitive damages” since Bing! claims Microsoft knew of the design company long before launching its search engine, and therefore is also asking the judge to grant funds for corrective advertising to remedy the confusion they have caused. Legally, companies that are in different industries are generally allowed to have similar names, but Bing! claims that because it makes heavy use of the Internet and search engine advertising, they have a valid complaint.
A Microsoft spokesperson responded to Ars Technica on the issue, and they don’t seem to be all that concerned about it at this point. “We believe this suit to be without merit and we do not believe there is any confusion in the marketplace with regards to the complaint, but are aware of the suit based on media reports. We respect trademarks and other people’s intellectual property, and look forward to the next steps in the judicial process”. Its possible to pick a fight with them on these grounds after they got caught red handed stealing source code from the open source community, but at least they made good in the end.
Is Bing! Information Design just after some free publicity?