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Microsoft Lost Search War By Ignoring the Long Tail

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-wonder-if-it's-prehensile dept.

Google 267

Art3x writes "When developing search engine technology, Microsoft focused on returning good results for popular queries but ignored the minor ones. 'It turned out the long tail was much more important,' said Bing's Yusuf Mehdi. 'One-third of queries that show up on Bing, it's the first time we've ever seen that query.' Yet the long tail is what makes most of Google's money. Microsoft is so far behind now that they won't crush Google, but they hope to live side by side, with Bing specializing in transactions like plane tickets, said Bing Director Stefan Weitz."

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frits psot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646784)

frist post?

Re:frits psot? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646810)

Nope, I'm sorry but you didn't get the frist post. On the other hand you did get the first post! Congratulations!

Now be a good boy and go back to the main page to wait for the next article so you can try and be the first one to post something again.

Re:frits psot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647480)

AC for obvious reasons (completely offtopic and my karma... well, it's ok...).

This post made my day. I can't blame the mods (1, Offtopic is kind of proper...). However, posts like this really do make something special about slashdot. You may get similar things elsewhere, but slashdot has a general different atmosphere about it. This is one of two reasons I read slashdot: shit like this that just makes my day, and there's some very good posts from time to time on slashdot, with a lot of information. Every once in a while, you learn some shit on here, and every once in a while, you get some nice comedic relief.

Same old (5, Insightful)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646786)

Company releases an inferior product, much later to the game than competition, makes excuses for failure, water still wet.

Re:Same old (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646820)

Company releases an inferior product, much later to the game than competition, makes excuses for failure, water still wet.

Have you ever used it? In my usage, it performs about as well as Google - in some cases, better. Despite this, I still use Google. Why? Like Windows, Google's market share at this point doesn't have that much to do with its quality, it has more to do with being synonymous with what it is used for. However, unlike Windows, I don't see anything on the horizon that is likely to dethrone it anytime soon.

Re:Same old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646946)

I find that Bing performs better when searching for things like very unusual API documentation and code examples.
When you search for things that are very unusual, Google will sometimes go out of it's way to suggest alternatives, and sometimes even just show you the hits for what it thinks you want, and even drop the "did you really want to search for this?" link.

With Bing you can still hone obscure queries with booleans and such, that Google only respects to a degree.

And as I write this, I realize that this is probably the long tail in question.

It seems to be assumed that when a query returns news group archives from 1998, it's automatically a failure. But as a person who often finds my best hits in such sources, I like it that the search engine is literal, and stupid, and predictable for certain tasks.

So, leave the long tail alone, or I will have to find another search engine.

Re:Same old (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647530)

I find that Bing performs better when searching for things like very unusual API documentation and code examples.
When you search for things that are very unusual, Google will sometimes go out of it's way to suggest alternatives, and sometimes even just show you the hits for what it thinks you want, and even drop the "did you really want to search for this?" link.

After reading the article it seems that's the direction that Bing will soon be taking too..

Bing, he said, is looking to solve the challenge of deciphering user intent. This means finding what users are searching for even though the consumers' query words don't match their idea of what they want to find.

Re:Same old (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646966)

Have you ever used it? In my usage, it performs about as well as Google - in some cases, better.

Erm... no

Especially where it should exceed, like, for example, finding MS stuff.

But maybe it's not Bing to blame, but the whole mess of naming and different versions of MS programs (case in point: MSN Messenger / Windows Live Messenger / Whatever it's called tomorrow)

Re:Same old (2, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647000)

When I first tried Bing I was impressed. The search results pretty spot on, and there wasn't the extra dross that taints Google's results (mostly because people don't know how to game the system yet). It was like Google was when it first started out. However, once I went from my test searches to real world (and more obscure) ones then it would miss the obvious websites.

It has been an interesting experiment, but when I reinstall my system next week, I will be setting Google as the default again. But I won't remove the Bing entry from my search list, as I still prefer it for image searches.

Re:Same old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647446)

Reinstall your system next week? Clearly you're not qualified to be publishing test results if you're reinstalling this frequently.

The Data (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647006)

Bing can't perform as well as Google because for one, it doesn't have the same data to begin with.

For example, have you ever released a new website and watched how long it takes for Bing to index it compared to Google?

Re:Same old (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647146)

Personally, I won't touch bing. It generates money for Microsoft, who is willing to give me almost nothing for free. Their free products are tied to using their overly bloated over priced products.

Google has given me a browser, they gave me a superior search engine years ahead of any competition, they offer me a free operating system, AND they host a boatload of code for free stuff for which I've never paid a dime.

More, Google promotes the advancement of computer science, without trying to take possession of every line of code written to work with their offerings. None of that "embrace, extend, extinguish" nonsense.

And, if all the rest doesn't impress you, Google has decided that they WILL NOT censor the web for 1/4 of the world's population, while Microsoft is quite happy to do so.

If anyone is going to make money off of my searches, it will be Google, unless and until some other company steps up to offer me tons of free stuff, and to "Not be evil".

I guess you could summarize my attitude as "Fuck Microsoft!"

Re:Same old (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647330)

More, Google promotes the advancement of computer science, without trying to take possession of every line of code written to work with their offerings. None of that "embrace, extend, extinguish" nonsense.

What the fuck are you talking about? Google invests nowhere NEAR what Microsoft invests in MS Research. Shareholders are annoyed with MS invests too much in research. No other company does that.

Though to be fair, for fanboys like you, facts are rarely a problem when making up your opinion.

Re:Same old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647506)

Why would Google invest in MS Research? Maybe Microsoft should start investing in Google research too. Then i'll be impressed.

Re:Same old (4, Interesting)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647616)

But what has MS Research given us compared to some of the things Google has gotten us? Overall, I'm very biased. I never liked Windows. I always thought it was counter-intuitive. Linux, on the other hand, just seems very logical and easy, to me. And Google has therefor given me more than I think some Windows users see.

Nonetheless, now my phone runs Google, too. My browser is now Google--it was Firefox long before that; I think the last time I used IE as my main browser was IE6, for a very short time before I switched over to Linux. My search engine is Google--because Google just has too many things that I haven't even bothered to see if Bing has, which I'm very used to on Google. My e-mail is Google. Many things that I use on a day to day basis have many contributions from Google('s Summer of Code and such).

There's five--the fifth being more than one, really--reasons for me to think Google has done more for me than MS. Most of those are just negatives from MS. I don't hate MS. But I don't like (most of) their work as much as I like Google's work and several others' work, and I don't really like their tactics and style of business. And why would I want to support a company putting all of this money into research and not showing me as much as several others--many of whom do it for free.

Re:Same old (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647636)

Speaking of fanboys - maybe you missed the fact that MS OWNS every line of code they produce, and they OWN everything they research.

On the other hand, Google gives away most of the stuff they write research. Google makes it possible to take their neatest stuff, modify it, and release it again.

Granted, there are SOME things that Google won't open source. They have a few bread-and-butter things that they don't want to give away to their competition, which is understandable. But, for the advancement of computer science, almost everything they do is just thrown out there, and made available for anyone who has a "better idea".

Try taking some MS code, and improving on it. IF MS approves of it, they will put their name on it, making it their own, then they will either use it, or drown it in the sea of obscurity surrounding Redmond.

Re:Same old (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647534)

Google has decided that they WILL NOT censor the web for 1/4 of the world's population,

Well, to be precise, Google went along with the censorship until they caught the Red Dynasty fucking with their servers, and decided that they'd had enough.

-jcr

Re:Same old (0, Troll)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647574)

Everything about this post is wrong.
Microsoft gives free search, browser, and email just like google. And google was happy to censor their results in order to do business in China.
This is not a very insightful post IMHO

Re:Same old (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647682)

"This is not a very insightful post IMHO"

Just another case of ./ moderation being broken. I wasn't shooting for "insightful", I was just explaining MY attitude. ;^)

"Microsoft gives free search, browser, and email just like google"

I disagree. The search ain't "just like google", hence TFA. The browser ain't "just like google" because Chrome isn't the property of a monopoly trying to squash the only other popular browser in use. Email ain't "just like google" because Outlook is subject to an entire genre of bugs, viruses, and worms that Gmail has never had. Worse, Outlook has access to my internal system, which Google never has had, and never will have.

Re:Same old (2, Informative)

wmac (1107843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647150)

One of the major searches people do is to search for their name.

My name is almost specific and 99% of the searches actually about me. google provides 5000 entries while Bing shows only 150 items.

I was hoping that Bing can provide an alternative to Google and gave it more than a few trials. However it disappointed me. I could not even find my own conference papers and articles on Bing. On Google, the first entry points to my homepage while Bing used to show a very old mailing list email of mine (which strangely belongs to 1998 !!!)

Another example is my favorite website. Google has indexed 5 million pages on that site while Bing has only indexed 10,000 pages!!. Obviously the index size of Google is much much bigger.

How I am supposed to use Bing when I am sure it does not list 90-95% of the search results 9in comparison to Google).

Re:Same old (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646908)

I don't know how they could have not figured this out ahead of time. All they needed to do was search for how to build a great search engine [google.com] and they would have gotten about 280,000,000 results.

Re:Same old (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646958)

makes excuses for failure

"We messed up" isn't really an excuse.

Re:Same old (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647688)

It wasn't so much that they messed up, it was grandiose claims of destroying google, ludicrous claims made by Ballmer basically to bump up M$'s share price and to secure his position at M$. They simply were willing to do the hard yards, the long work over years to refine, improve, demonstrate creativity and implement realistic short, medium and long term plans. Just a whole lot of PR=B$ marketing, some behind the scenes questionable manipulations, exaggerated results and some really silly investments.

The one thing that puts google ahead of MSN search, is street view, simply a sufficient proportion of people's searches lead them to wanting to find a place, figure out the parking and establish a visual mind map of the approaches. Plus of course there is that net tourism that is fun and easy with street view, especially the latter higher quality images.

Search is just search, pretty much, meh, don't care use, what works, what people have become accustomed too and ok is good enough. The rest of the portal is still more important nad that where M$ really falls down, they still mishandle MSN, they have devalued the brand twice, first with live and now Bing and the problem with MSN remains the same, M$ just simply does not understand how value is created in a web page and how the value is sold down with each add and how that ratio needs to be managed. Just clumsy bloated egos with quick easy answers for wild get rich quick schemes and all just making M$ look more lame and uncool, a real bunch of Zunes (heh heh).

Re:Same old (2, Funny)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647740)

"We messed up" isn't really an excuse.

You're right. It's the new Microsoft company slogan.

Re:Same old (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647156)

yeah. Example: the summary.

I don't know how plane searches work on Bing but they work super fast on google.

Example: search ORD to JFK and you get a link asking for the dates you wish to fly. After you put those in, if you open each link beneath it (in new tabs) you can search 7 major airline searches for your destination/date in like 5 seconds. (Cheapticket, expedia, hotwire, kayak, orbitz, priceline, travelocity) . So I don't know or even care what bing has on that, since google's is that simple.

Re:Same old (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647332)

Microsoft is always late to the party. GUI, LANs, the internet, and now internet search.

They figure they'll make up for it with superior marketing and product placement within their own software; don't underestimate the power that these things can have.

Well, duh... (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646792)

said Bing's Yusuf Mehdi. 'One-third of queries that show up on Bing, it's the first time we've ever seen that query.'

.

Search engines are all about people looking to find stuff. A good portion of what people look for are probably new things that are happening now.

So, Microsoft goes off and designs a brand new "bet the ranch" search engine, without even knowing how its customers use such a service. Yes, that sounds like Microsoft.

Re:Well, duh... (2, Insightful)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646824)

One could be forgiven for assuming that years of cumulative search and click data from MSN would have made this issue apparent very early on. But apparently that wasn't the case. Was the collaboration between MSN and Bing teams really that poor? Or was the MSN data just that worthless? In any case, it suggests that MS tries to have too many fingers in too many pies, and should refocus on making core products (Windows, Office an XBox) great again before running off dabbling in markets it doesn't understand. No wonder stock is flat since forever...

Re:Well, duh... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647040)

on making core products (Windows, Office an XBox) great again

Again? Though I do think you can make a good argument for the Xboxes.

Re:Well, duh... (5, Informative)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647414)

I worked on MSN Search (later "Live Search") so I can answer a few of these for you: 1) There was very little collaboration with the MSN teams. MSN is generally despised at Microsoft, and to get people to come to Search we had to reassure them that it wasn't "really" part of MSN. For their part, the MSN people seemed to try really hard to live up to their "it can't be done" reputation. For example, the MSN team controlled the UI, and even though a top customer complaint was that there wasn't enough space for users to type their queries, no force in the Universe was powerful enough to make the MSN guys widen it. (Their design rules required it be usable by people whose display was a TV set.) 2) Yeah, the MSN data was worthless. First, there wasn't that much of it; rather than saving the raw data, they had a process for computing digests of it, and that's all we could get. Also, that digest process was full of bugs. For example, for years it told us the top queries were "google," "internet explorer" and "yahoo"; it was obvious this was a bug, but our management couldn't get the MSN team to do anything about it. 3) As Yusuf suggests in his article, the cumuative Search and Click data is NOT what you need to produce a good search engine. One of the most frustrating things about working on Search at Microsoft was Management's obsession with head queries. They had several articles of faith that didn't accord with reality, but this was one of the worst. Good news for Microsoft if they've finally figured this out. Of course, almost all the people responsible for the original mess are long gone now. 4) The Google-worship was nauseating. We wasted all kinds of effort trying to duplicate features that obviously didn't work even for Google (news being an obvious example) whereas new features that might have been helpful consistently got killed with "Google doesn't do that." In many cases, this argument was used for technologies where no one had any reasonable clue what Google actually did. --Greg

Re:Well, duh... (4, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647484)

for years it told us the top queries were "google," "internet explorer" and "yahoo"; it was obvious this was a bug

Maybe I'm being dense but... why? Those seem like very reasonable top searches for a search engine that something like Windows uses by default.

Re:Well, duh... (1)

Greg Hullender (621024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647582)

I think "internet explorer" typed out in full should have been the best clue. Turned out it was generated by (if I recall correctly) an MSN application of some kind.

Re:Well, duh... (1, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646840)

So, Microsoft goes off and designs a brand new [tech], without even knowing how its customers use such a [tech]. Yes, that sounds like Microsoft.

Microsoft, doing business by ignoring its own users for the last three decades!

Re:Well, duh... (4, Funny)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646952)

I sincerely apologize. I'm a PC and Bing was my idea. Sorry!

Typical MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646882)

And if they stay true to form they will say their customers demanded it!

It helps to be honest, as well (5, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646806)

'It turned out the long tail was much more important,' said Bing's Yusuf Mehdi.

Someone should tell Medhi that it also helps when you don't game the search results to fit your corporate agenda.

From time to time, I try out the following query on Bing: "Why is Windows so expensive?"

The day that the first result returned is NOT a site about Macs being expensive is the day I'll start to take Bing seriously. Until then, I'm sticking with Google, which is at least honest enough to properly index anti-Google queries.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (0, Troll)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646842)

Someone should tell Medhi that it also helps when you don't game the search results to fit your corporate agenda.

From time to time, I try out the following query on Bing: "Why is Windows so expensive?"

The day that the first result returned is NOT a site about Macs being expensive is the day I'll start to take Bing seriously. Until then, I'm sticking with Google, which is at least honest enough to properly index anti-Google queries.

So, today? I just tried that search and the Macs article is number 9 on the first set of results. The first article is basically about what you would expect from this search (http://www.timesoftheinternet.com/98741.html) and the second is a story about what you were just describing (http://www.quickpwn.com/2009/08/why-is-windows-so-expensive.html).

Seriously, though, why would you make claims like this without verifying before posting? Oh yeah - Slashdot.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646862)

I just tried that exact search on Bing. Cache, cookies, etc all freshly cleared (literally right before I put the query into the search window). First result: Why are Mac's So Expensive? - Yahoo! Answers

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646892)

I read a few of the other results that came up with this phenomenon. Other people are claiming one second it's there at the top, one second it's not. No one here is full of shit.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646904)

Well, here's a screenshot [imgur.com] . I guess it's possible that it's different because I'm Canadian, though it does imply it's not limiting results based on that.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646950)

Well, here's a screenshot. I guess it's possible that it's different because I'm Canadian, though it does imply it's not limiting results based on that.

That's interesting. It absolutely is because you're in Canada. I just tried the same search at bing.ca (redirects to http://www.bing.com/?cc=ca [bing.com] for me) and I got the same results as your screenshot.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646910)

I'm not calling you a liar and in fact I believe you. The fact a question about Macs being expensive on the first page shows that Bing is faulty but the fact it's results vary so much from person to person for the same query is just down right awful.

My query: why is windows so expensive

My top results:

# Why are Mac's So Expensive? - Yahoo! Answers Best Answer: Charging a higher price for computers is necessary in order for Apple to have a large research and development budget, as well as allowing them to provide the number one rated ... * Resolved * 7 total answers * answers.yahoo.com/question/index? qid=20061212021150AAOfyNz * Cached page

# Slashdot | Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive? An OEM version of Windows XP Pro is ~$140. A Cygwin commercial license will ... So I suppose the issue here is really "why are support contracts so expensive?" rather than "why is ... * ask.slashdot.org/askslashdot/06/10/04/ 0452244.shtml * Cached page

# Why is Windows so expensive? Why is Windows so expensive? Search that up in Microsoft's search engine, Bing, and you'll see this: That's right, the first result that shows up is a * www.quickpwn.com/2009/08/why-is-windows-so-expensive.html * Cached page

# Why is Windows So Expensive? Why is Windows So Expensive? That's the top question on googler's minds this morning. While Windows 7 prices were revealed back on July 25th (and more * gadgetcrave.com/why-is-windows-so-expensive/ 1932 * Cached page

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646962)

I just tried the same thing. First result, "Why are Mac's So Expensive?".

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (2, Informative)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646964)

I just performed that search, and GP is correct: first result is indeed 'Why are Mac's So Expensive? - Yahoo! Answers'. This result is duplicated when searching with the phrase surrounded by quotes, and without.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647050)

You're a fucking MORON and a MICROSOFT SHILL. Go away.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647288)

He MIGHT BE a moron - but people are reporting different results, with screenshots to back them up.
He MIGHT BE a Microsoft shill - but when people get different results for the same search, you have to scratch your head.

You've contributed nothing here. Next time, post with your real name, so you can be properly modded "troll".

And, no, I'm OBVIOUSLY NOT a Microsoft shill - search for my other posts on this page, dummy.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647074)

First answer:

"Why are Macs so expensive?" - Yahoo answers

Second answer:

Why is Windows so expensive?
Search that up in Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, and you’ll see this: That’s right, the first result that shows up is a “ Why are Mac’s So Expensive?” Yahoo Answers page. The person who created this page posted a question asking why Mac’s are so expensive, and that he was fed up of Windows and ...

Bing still sucks, but at least it's funny while it sucks.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647234)

I just ran the search through bing, and as GP suggests, the very first hit is http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061212021150AAOfyNz [yahoo.com]
GP's assertion is verified by me, anyway. Maybe it makes a difference which browser you use for the search, or which operating system, or maybe even what country you are searching from?
I'm running Firefox on Ubuntu Karmic, from the United States. Maybe they force feed that specific search result to the people they think are most likely to buy a Mac? Who knows? Let's send Ballmer an email, and ask him about it.

On second thought, I don't want a chair flying through my screen - you send the email!

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647654)

I tried a few different user agent strings and it doesn't make a difference here. I get the same results every time (with macs being at the top).

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646846)

For shits and grins I thought I would try your experiment out.

Not that I was expecting any less from Microsoft, but you weren't fucking kidding. The first result in Bing is the sixth result on Google. I don't expect exact parity between the two, but I would expect results to be somewhat similar. I'm looking for something that's relevant to the topic, therefore I expect similar relevant results between the two. Mac's being expensive isn't relevant, at least not at first.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (2, Interesting)

plankrwf (929870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646916)

Sorry, not buying this.
I am no fan of MS, but typing 'why is windows so expensive' in my search bar on firefox (which defaults to results on Google.com) gives as FIRST hit a newstory about how this query turns up a query about Apple, the second is about ... Apple.

Seriously, did you try it with quotes? (No, didn't try it myself).
Surely, there are more articles on WHY the hardware of APPLE is relatively EXPENSIVE, compared to laptops & pc's which run WINDOWS?

As long as you do not put "" around the query, I would not put it down to dishonesty.
(I would expect that the query "why is windows not so expensive" also gives a first hit to Apple?").

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646922)

you can always try an image search for Bill Gates. The first image returned is his police mugshot

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646924)

Even if someone were to find an occasional bit of honesty from Microsoft, you still have to look at the 20+ years of deception, and write it off as an aberration. There is a corporate culture and history there of playing fast and loose with the rules, and placing their own self interests well above all else. Just say no.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646978)

And 2nd result criticises XP OEM cost, the 3rd and 4th results are about Windows, the 5th is about Bing being a bit rubbish.

Whereas if I search on Google, the first result is them rubbishing the competition, and the one about Macs is second. So is Google biasing its search results to fit an agenda? I'm nit sure why that accusation can be levelled at Bing and not Google.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646980)

You presume that it must be for dishonest reasons.

You are essentially trying to claim that when you perform that search, that there is some code that does...

if ( RESULT[0].MakesWindowsLookBad() ) { insert(RESULT, 0, PageThatMakesOSXLookBad) }

This is completely laughable. Really.

A rational person asks the question "Why does it rank that page higher" and "Are any of the solutions preferable to the current ranking system?"

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647020)

To add to the situation, when searching google for "google is evil" the first few hits are about google's "do no evil" while on bing the first page hit (had videos hits at the top) is titled "Is Google evil?"

I do not presume that Google is being dishonest here.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647028)

Doing a Bing and Google search on 'why is windows so expensive' returns similar results here (note, I use quotation marks when I search since it usually helps Google return more relevant results).

The few times I've tried bing it has always returned worse results than Google, even when searching for Microsoft stuff. Google isn't without issues though as it is spammed with "linkfarms" or whatever it's called, making Google far less useful today that it was five years ago.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (2, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647046)

It would appear that Bing correlates results in real-time, re-scoring based on clicks. So ... when someone searches, "Why Is Windows Expensive," Bing watches to see what the user *clicks* in the results and uses that to score *subsequent* queries. I'm just guessing, of course, but this could explain why some people get that Mac link as the first hit, while others get something else.

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647098)

I very much doubt that this is Microsoft fiddling with the search results, just like Google isn't being racist because of the results that come up when you enter "michelle obama monkey".

If the Mac page didn't also come up in the top 10 on Google then I might see that you had a point. Or if the sites asking the question about Windows were censored from the results, then you could complain. But all you have found is a particular search that comes up with a seemingly bizarre result. People used to post that examples of that sort of thing about Google [google.com] , just for a laugh. There is just no proof of any conspiracy.

And in my country Mac question doesn't come up on Bing's first page at all, although there is the Slashdot article on "Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive?".

Re:It helps to be honest, as well (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647202)

"Why is Windows so expensive?"

HA HA!! I'm just ROFLMAO, thinking about creating a bot that sends that query to BING about 24,000 times a day, from every computer infected. To bad I'm not a black hat, huh? Cool name for it would be the Bing virus. Yeah, I know, a bot ain't a virus, but we could call it that, and use it to scare the ignorant away from Bing! Beauty!

Instincts KNOW (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647430)

Everybody is jumping on you as though you'd cut yourself in a shark pool because you committed the error of being factually inaccurate in a forum full of geeks. Which doesn't make you right, but still. . .

I think you inadvertently raise an interesting point.

You just assume that MS is being sneaky. And you have EVERY reason to believe this to be the case. Can you imagine a world where search is ruled by the MS totalitarian approach to everything they touch? I have a very hard time trusting Google, and they've got a pretty good track record, but MS. . ?

~Shudder~

I wouldn't trust them with anybody's info for two seconds. You KNOW they'll abuse it for profit the moment Game Theory recommends that as the best option for world domination and monetary gain. That's simply how they work.

So your automatic distrust of MS, while factually off the mark, is based on more than two decades of rotten corporate behavior. That aspect of the human instinct will often point at the wrong specifics (because the conscious mind is over-eager to interpret the warning bells) but usually in the right overall direction.

-FL

Bing Seems No Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646808)

I tried doing some obscure searches in Bing and it was coming up with a tiny number of relevant results (2-3). Google, on the other hand, was producing about 20 relevant results which helped me find what I was looking for. I can't really understand why anyone is using Bing since the quality of the search results still appears to be way below Google.

Re:Bing Seems No Better (2, Insightful)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646844)

It's not the 20 relevant ones that's the trouble, it's the thousands of irrelevant ones.

Lost? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646836)

As long as there are search engines and choices, the war isn't over. A war of unskilled attrition, ( like Microsoft plays ) can take a long time to end.

Re:Lost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647086)

I agree, they may lose the long tail, but M$ gets the long haul.

Sure (5, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646868)

Microsoft is so far behind now that they won't crush Google, but they hope to live side by side...

The same way the Zune lives side by side with the iPod.

So they say (5, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646870)

I would say they lost by:

1. Being too late. Search engines have been around for many years. You can't easily launch a search engine now without a massively improved user experience over what is already available.

2. Not being trusted, I don't want to use Microsoft's search engine as it may subvert the results to promote their wares.

3. Stupid name. Every time I hear "Bing" I think of Ned Ryserson from the film Groundhog Day.

4. OTT interface, I don't need a big background when I'm looking for stuff.

About money (1)

rososusilo (1770290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646880)

world of the Internet is not just a place to find information, but it is also important, the Internet is about "make money". microsoft should have realized it.

MapReduce Thinking? (4, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646898)

I was just thinking about the role MapReduce plays in all of this search malarky, and then I came across a telling Joel Spolsky post from a few years ago:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ThePerilsofJavaSchools.html [joelonsoftware.com]

"The very fact that Google invented MapReduce, and Microsoft didn't, says something about why Microsoft is still playing catch up trying to get basic search features to work, while Google has moved on to the next problem: building Skynet^H^H^H^H^H^H the world's largest massively parallel supercomputer. I don't think Microsoft completely understands just how far behind they are on that wave."

Perhaps Microsoft just cannot think like that? To be clear, Microsoft saying that maybe Google and Bing can perhaps exist side-by-side is a clear admission of defeat. Microsoft never says that, so you know the situation is bad. I just can't understand why they got a bee in their bonnet and wanted to chase Google in the way that they have. It was clearly a knee-jerk thing and they hadn't clearly thought about it. The only major difference they did was change the name from the stale MSN Search name to something they thought was cooler - Bing. Nothing else changed.

To not take into account that people search for many random and obscure things put together that won't have been recorded before (language is a very broad thing and what people search for is also time-based i.e. NOW), and not to have some sort of logic to aid with that, is utterly unforgiveable. What the hell are Microsoft Research doing?

Re:MapReduce Thinking? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646960)

Perhaps they're too busy embracing, extending, and extinguishing to innovate. It does seem to happen to most companies. Google seems to be avoiding it so far, but they're young, and a little bit different than the typical company as well.

Re:MapReduce Thinking? (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647116)

For now. And that will only last until the founders leave or step back in the oversight and are replaced by Standford MBA's. Then it will become about the bottom line. Look at what happened to Motorola when the family was forced out about a decade or more ago...

Re:MapReduce Thinking? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647712)

As long as Google continues to be run more by engineers than MBAs, they will be a little different. There used to be more companies like that, but they all seem to have died. The death usually seems to be caused by MBAs and accountants focusing only on the immediate stock price and the next quarter. There is no long term vision anymore.

They need to do something more radically different (5, Interesting)

astrashe (7452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646914)

I don't think Bing will ever out-Google Google. So it's strange that they don't try to identify problems with Google and address them. They seem to start out with the assumption that Google is perfect, so the best path forward is to do everything just like Google, only more so.

The big problem with Google is privacy. Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do? I'd pay a subscription for such a thing. Maybe most people wouldn't, but I would. Search is such a big market that 5% of it is still huge. Maybe 5% of the people in the US would pay for private searching.

MS has had a kind of bullying culture for a long time, and they've declared war on open source, so we've viewed them as the bad guys for a long time. But windows is a heck of a lot more open than the iPad, and their business model isn't based on data mining. In a lot of ways, they've been left behind by many of the most toxic trends in the industry. They should listen to some of the things that we linux folks have been saying, and try to fit them into their pitch when they can. Talk about the value of controlling your own data, of privacy, of letting anyone who wants to write a program and distribute it, of being able to install your software on whatever hardware you want. That's not snake oil -- it's good stuff.

The strange thing is that they've missed those toxic trends not because they value the good alternatives, but because they're big and sluggish and not very agile. They've just been left behind. And all they want is to catch up so they can turn the same screws on us that Apple and Google turn. It doesn't occur to them to make the kinds of arguments I'm proposing here.

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (1)

mutemutt (1341901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31646988)

Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do

maybe because knowing what you do leads to much better answers...

Privacy enhanced search? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646996)

I'd pay a subscription for such a thing.

http://www.ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] -- there ya go.

You can even google it ;-)

Re:Privacy enhanced search? (1)

slifox (605302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647110)

http://www.ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] -- there ya go.

You can even google it ;-)

But.. then google would know that you're googling for a non-google google! *head explodes*

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (4, Insightful)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647012)

Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do? I'd pay a subscription for such a thing.

How would they keep track of who has subscribed if they're not tracking people?

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (2, Insightful)

RPoet (20693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647386)

There's a difference between keeping track of who has subscribed and keeping track of what subscribers search for. Of course, in this scenario, subscribers would have to blindly trust Microsoft.

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647022)

you can use ixquick

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (1)

Cjstone (1144829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647024)

The big problem with Google is privacy. Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do?

This is Microsoft we're talking about. If you believe they'll ever do that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647144)

The big problem with Google is privacy. Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do? I'd pay a subscription for such a thing. Maybe most people wouldn't, but I would. Search is such a big market that 5% of it is still huge. Maybe 5% of the people in the US would pay for private searching.

Microsoft doesn't have a problem with google abusing privacy. Their only complaint is that they want to be the ones doing it, not google! Ask me how I feel in a year or two but for now I still trust Microsoft a whole lot less than Google.

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647158)

>The big problem with Google is privacy

No it's not. Maybe it's a problem to you and a few other privacy nuts, but no one else minds, and it's good to Google, that's why they do it.

Google and privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647324)

"The big problem with Google is privacy. Why not try to make a search engine that doesn't track what you do?"

Why not just delete your cookies ?

"windows is a heck of a lot more open than the iPad"

You're kidding here aren't you.

"all they want is to catch up so they can turn the same screws on us that Apple and Google turn"

A single company monopolizing the desktop and online commerce, is a good thing? And I don't see either Apple or Google ever engaged in the sharp practices out of Redmond. Microsoft Litigation [groklaw.net]

Re:They need to do something more radically differ (2, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647362)

But windows is a heck of a lot more open than the iPad

You're comparing oranges to apples, so to speak. An operating system is not equivalent to a single product put out by a company.

Tell me, is the Xbox more open than the iPad? Because those two products are the ones you should be comparing. Closed, tightly regulated ecosystems in both cases, although I'd still give the iPad the edge for ease of developer access.

On the other hand, is Windows more open than OS X? Clearly, the answer to that is a resounding NO, as you quickly realize as you jump through Microsoft's "Genuine Advantage" license code hoops.

Stay different! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646974)

Maybe this is actually quite useful. If they'd do exactly the same as Google, then there's no advantage for consumers, both do the same.

When they're different, that means Bing may actually have a use, namely for these cases where you specifically need something from the "short tail".

P.S. I've never used Bing so far.

makes excuses for failure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31646990)

"We messed up" isn't really an excuse.
Chinese Girls [chinese-girls.org]
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tag it 'bung' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647118)

smells like micro$oft all right

http://www.msversus.org/ [msversus.org]

So (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647160)

Why did they need to be in it? I realize that doing something because you can and because you want to be the one with all the marbles and such is part of competition but at some point it becomes obsession. It did so with Microsoft a decade ago. Everything someone does they want to mimic. That's the idiocy, they mimic and essentially have from the beginning. They're the Chevrolet of technology.

They can't except that Google is just better at search. Period. Why can't they just accept that and stop stalking the search market? At some point you have to accept that the chic just doesn't dig ya and move on.

Why was it necessary to want to "crush" Google? (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647176)

Oh, so since they screwed up, they're not going to be able to completely destroy Google, so they'll settle for even competition? It's this kind of thinking that's gotten Microsoft into trouble in the past, the philosophy that they can be the only one, so they have to destroy anything that remotely competes with them.

retrospective excusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647264)

The reason MS lost at search was Google was better at it, and MS couldn't leverage their desktop monopoly to make using Google a jolting experience [slated.org] .

Why I switched to Bing (2, Insightful)

Orion_ (83461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647286)

The day I searched (a few months ago) for information on the Toyota recall and got an automatically scrolling box of Twitter posts was the day I switched to Bing.

(That said, Bing really isn't as good as Google... but most of the time it's almost as good, and I really don't want anything to automatically scroll, and I really really don't want any results from Twitter.)

Re:Why I switched to Bing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647392)

Google "Toyota recall", then Show Options -> Latest.

  =)

Re:Why I switched to Bing (1)

Eryq (313869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647562)

So, what will you do if and when Bing starts showing results from Twitter/Facebook/LiveJournal? Refuse to use any search engines at all?

Choices are choices. If you don't want results from Twitter, then avert your eyes from that part of the screen.

It wasn't part of "The road ahead", 1995 (0)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647358)

Two years before Google was founded the word "internet" didn't even appear in Bills book.
Nuff said: http://www.conservapedia.com/Bill_Gates

Bing sucks (3, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647374)

I have my own website which is absolutely authoritative on its rather narrow topic. This website is easily findable by its unique keyword that identifies the topic (similar to searching for "slashdot", you won't find any cooking websites or shopping, only tech stuff). I'm at #5 on Google and my number one competitor is at #6. Neither of us shows up on a Bing.com search, I quit looking after page 10 of results. The results just have a bunch of websites that I've never heard of before. Even more galling, Bing.com tries to play games with my results because I'm overseas. I search for "mykeyword" and select "Only English". Bing.com helpfully comes back with "Results are included for XXX XXX (foreign word that is the translation of my keyword)". Two of the sites on the first page say "Parse error: syntax error" as their preview. Yes, my site is in Bing's index and regularly submits XML sitemaps.

In conclusion, Bing sucks if it can't put my site in the first 10 search results. Hell, it should at least be in the top 100. I don't game Google, either, other than some basic SEO that any responsible business owner should do.

Re:Bing sucks (0, Troll)

smith6174 (986645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647642)

You sound like an absolute moron. Although it is a perfectly human reaction to support the search engine where you rank higher, you need to get a clue. I am a professional SEO, and hundreds of my client sites rank higher in Bing and Yahoo than they do in Google. Search engines are designed for different reasons, and Google is optimized for making money. This means that the advertising on Google gets a lot of click fraud. This still makes money for Google, so what do you expect? The sites above you on Bing might just be there for different reasons.

history of Microsoft and Search (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31647424)

First Era: Human-Powered Search (1997-2002)

"Search isn't some relatively new effort that dates back to 2003 at Microsoft. Search, especially web search, is something the company has seriously pursued since 1997 [searchengineland.com] . In its first era, Microsoft started out with a crawler-based search engine, one that creates listings by using automation to harvest material from across the web. It then migrated to building a very good service that relied primarily on human power, human beings to either catalog the web or customize top search results with hand-picked answers. Bill Bliss was the person in charge during most of this period. Here's how it unfolded, over the years"

"I was always told "Search is not core to our business [searchengineland.com] , Google is not a competitor, Yahoo is not the competition, AOL is the competitor to beat, subscription services is how we're going to win.", Bill Bliss, Former Microsoft Search Chief

Just Another failed attempt at search by MS (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647440)

It is like everyone around here is too young to remember the last what 3-6 failures MS made at "new" search engine or too old and their memory does not work anymore.

There is no reason to waist time and effort on bing as webmaster, until bing (or whatever they want to relabel it) starts moving traffic I don't care about bing as a search engine.

The long tail (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647494)

I think that there was a lot of ridicule of the long-tail hypothesis of the internet. People sometimes like to debunk things that are plainly obvious. I think it is because everyone wants to be edgy and contrary from time to time. The long tail isn't just a reality on the internet it is also probably the most important part of the internet for advertisers. The great hump in the middle can be served by TV or other standard advertising platforms.

The whole reason Altavista knocked over Yahoo is the long tail. And Google eventually took the lead because they service the long tail like no other search engine and they nail the advertising for those search queries. Further, it is one of those cases where the more data you have the smarter you get.

Leeches (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31647520)

If they didn't have innovative companies like Google, Apple, Sony, etc, etc, etc to lead the way, they would not have a business model at all. Current model: wait for someone else to come up with a good idea, see if it makes money, imitate the innovator, use monopoly power to grab share of market, and if possible, overwhelm the innovators so they disappear as a future threat to the status quo (ie, MS hegemony).
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