Bing (formerly Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search)

Bing (formerly Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search) is a web search engine (advertised as a "decision engine"[2]) from Microsoft. Bing was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 28, 2009 at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego. It went fully online on June 3, 2009,[3] with a preview version released on June 1, 2009.
Notable changes include the listing of search suggestions as queries are entered and a list of related searches (called "Explore pane") based on[4] semantic technology from Powerset that Microsoft purchased in 2008.[5]
On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal in which Bing would power Yahoo! Search.[6] All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners are expected to have made the transition by early 2012.[7]
In October 2011, Bing announced it is working on new back-end search infrastructure, with the goal of delivering faster and slightly more relevant search results for users. Known as “Tiger,” the new index-serving technology has being incorporated into Bing globally, since August 2011

History

 MSN Search

MSN Search homepage in 2006
Windows Live Search homepage
Live Search homepage, which would help to create the Bing homepage later on.
MSN Search was a search engine by Microsoft that consisted of a search engine, index, and web crawler. MSN Search first launched in the third quarter of 1998 and used search results from Inktomi. In early 1999, MSN Search launched a version which displayed listings from Looksmart blended with results from Inktomi except for a short time in 1999 when results from AltaVista were used instead. Since then Microsoft upgraded MSN Search to provide its own self-built search engine results, the index of which was updated weekly and sometimes daily. The upgrade started as a beta program in November 2004, and came out of beta in February 2005. Image search was powered by a third party, Picsearch. The service also started providing its search results to other search engine portals in an effort to better compete in the market.

 Windows Live Search

The first public beta of Windows Live Search was unveiled on March 8, 2006, with the final release on September 11, 2006 replacing MSN Search. The new search engine used search tabs that include Web, news, images, music, desktop, local, and Microsoft Encarta.
In the roll-over from MSN Search to Windows Live Search, Microsoft stopped using Picsearch as their image search provider and started performing their own image search, fueled by their own internal image search algorithms.[9]

 Live Search

On March 21, 2007, Microsoft announced that it would separate its search developments from the Windows Live services family, rebranding the service as Live Search. Live Search was integrated into the Live Search and Ad Platform headed by Satya Nadella, part of Microsoft's Platform and Systems division. As part of this change, Live Search was merged with Microsoft adCenter.[10]
A series of reorganisations and consolidations of Microsoft's search offerings were made under the Live Search branding. On May 23, 2008, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of Live Search Books and Live Search Academic and integrated all academic and book search results into regular search, and as a result this also included the closure of Live Search Books Publisher Program. Soon after, Windows Live Expo was discontinued on July 31, 2008. Live Search Macros, a service for users to create their own custom search engines or use macros created by other users, was also discontinued shortly after. On May 15, 2009, Live Product Upload, a service which allowed merchants to upload products information onto Live Search Products, was discontinued. The final reorganisation came as Live Search QnA was rebranded as MSN QnA on February 18, 2009, however, it was subsequently discontinued on May 21, 2009.[11]
Microsoft recognised that there would be a brand issue as long as the word "Live" remained in the name.[12] As an effort to create a new identity for Microsoft's search services, Live Search was officially replaced by Bing on June 3, 2009.[13]

 Yahoo! search deal

On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they had made a 10-year deal in which the Yahoo! search engine would be replaced by Bing. Yahoo! will get to keep 88% of the revenue from all search ad sales on its site for the first five years of the deal, and have the right to sell adverts on some Microsoft sites. Yahoo! Search will still maintain its own user interface, but will eventually feature "Powered by Bing™" branding.[14][15] All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.[16]

 Market share

Before the launch of Bing, the marketshare of Microsoft web search pages (MSN and Live search) had been small but steady. By January 2011, Experian Hitwise show that Bing's market share had increased to 12.8% at the expense of Yahoo and Google. Bing powered searches also continued to have a higher "success rate" compared to Google, with more users clicking on the resulting links.[17] In the same period, comScore’s “2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review” report showed that "Bing was the big gainer in year-over-year search activity, picking up 29% more searches in 2010 than it did in 2009."[18] The Wall Street Journal notes the 1% jump in share "appeared to come at the expense of rival Google Inc".[19] In February 2011 Bing beat out Yahoo! for the first time ever in terms of search marketshare. Bing received 4.37% search share while Yahoo! received 3.93% according to StatCounter.[20]
In March 2011, Bing-powered search accounts for over 30% of US searches, up 5% over February. In the same period, Google fell 3%.[21]
Counting core searches only, i.e. those where the user has an intent to interact with the search result, Bing achieved a market share of 14.54% in the second quarter of 2011 in the US.[22][23]
In December of 2011, Bing search queries overtook Yahoo for the first time ever. Bing's share of searches was 15.1% in December 2011, as compared to Yahoo's, which fell to 14.5%. [24]

 Features

 Interface features

  • Daily changing of background image. The images are mostly of noteworthy places in the world, though it sometimes displays animals, people, and sports. The background image also contains information about the element(s) shown in the image.
  • Video homepage for HTML-5 enabled browsers on occasional events, similar to the daily background images.
  • Images page shows the main picture from that day and four searches that refers to that image with three preview pictures per search term.
  • Left side navigation pane. Includes navigation and, on results pages, related searches and prior searches.
  • Right side extended preview which shows a bigger view of the page and gives URLs to links inside of the page.
  • Sublinks. On certain search results, the search result page also shows section links within the article (this is also done on other search engines, including Google)
  • Enhanced view where third party site information can be viewed inside Bing.
  • On certain sites, search from within the website on the results page.
  • On certain sites, Bing will display the Customer Service number on the results page.

 Media features

  • Video thumbnail Preview where, by hovering over a video thumbnail, the video automatically starts playing
  • Image search with continuous scrolling images results page that has adjustable settings for size, layout, color, style and people.[25]
  • Advanced filters - allow users to refine search results based on properties such as image size, aspect ratio, color or black and white, photo or illustration, and facial features recognition
  • Video search with adjustable setting for length, screen size, resolution and source

 Instant answers

  • Sports. Bing can directly display scores from a specific day, recent scores from a league or scores and statistics on teams or players.
  • Finance. When entering a company name or stock symbol and either stock or quote in the search box Bing will show direct stock information like a stockchart, price, volume, and p/e ratio[26] in a webslice that users can subscribe to.
  • Math calculations (e.g., 2 * pi * 24).[27] Users can enter math expressions in the search box using a variety of math operators and trigonometric functions[28] and Bing will provide a direct calculation of the expression.
  • Advanced computations. Using the WolframAlpha computational engine, Bing can also give results to advanced math problems (e.g. lim x/2x as x->2) and other WolframAlpha related queries (e.g. calories in pizza).
  • Package tracking and tracing. When a user types the name of the shipping company and the tracking number, Bing will provide direct tracking information.
  • Dictionary. When "define", "definition" or "what is" followed by a word is entered in the searchbox Bing will show a direct answer from the Encarta dictionary.
  • Spell check. Will change frequently misspelled search terms to the more commonly spelled alternative.
  • Best match (plus similar sites)
  • Product shopping and "Bing cashback"
  • Health information
  • Flight tracking
  • Translate. Auto translation of certain search phrases, often with phrases including "translate" or "in English." For example, to translate "me llamo" from Spanish to English you would simply type "translate" me llamo in english and you will be redirected to a search results page with Bing Translator with your translation from Spanish to English.

 Local info

  • Current traffic information
  • Business listing
  • People listing
  • Collections
  • Localized searching for restaurants and services
  • Restaurant reviews
  • Movies played in an area. When a current movie title is entered in the search box Bing will provide listings of local theaters showing the movie. When a city is added to the search box, Bing provides the movie listings localized for that city.
  • City hotel listings. When 'hotels' and a city name is entered in the search box Bing can provide hotel listings with a map. The listing leads to a detail search page with the hotels listed that holds extended information on the hotels and contains links to reviews, directions reservations and bird eye view of the hotel. On the page with the listings the list can be refined by settings on ratings, pricing, amenities, payment and parking

 Integration with Hotmail

  • With Hotmail’s "Quick Add" feature, users can insert derivatives of Bing search results such as restaurant reviews, movie times, images, videos, and maps directly into their e-mail messages.[29]

 Integration with Facebook

  • Bing's search results can display one's Facebook friends when a Facebook account is linked with Bing via Facebook Connect.
  • Users have the option to send messages to their friends in the search results.

 International

Bing is available in many languages and has been localized for many countries.[30]

 Languages in which Bing can find results

 Languages in which Bing can be displayed

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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