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Microsoft

Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results 582

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-be-evil dept.
bdcny7927 writes "Just as Bing is gaining popularity, some disturbingly pro-Microsoft and anti-Apple search results are rearing their ugly heads. Case in point: a search on Bing for the phrase, 'Why is Windows so expensive?' returned this as the top link: 'Why are Macs so expensive.' That's right. You're not hallucinating."
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Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results

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  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:23AM (#28971759) Journal

    Surprised, why?

  • Boring Story (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:28AM (#28971827) Journal

    Google also puts "Why are Macs so expensive?" on the first page of its search, although the first 4 hits are for various Microsoft products including Windows and Office. Frankly, this is the standard sensationalist crap that Slashdot excels at now a days... Hey Slashdot, how about covering the fact that KDE 4.3 [kde.org] was just released today? Oh I forgot, this site is about nitpicking and hating everything Microsoft does, while still secretly using there software and never contributing anything of value to open-source.

  • That's why.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david_thornley (598059) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:30AM (#28971871)

    That's why I have often taken my car to repair shops that are nothing but repair shops, not gas stations or tire stores or whatever doing car repair on the side. They have to live on the basis of their car repairs, and they are likely to pay attention to that, and if they do bad repairs they will go out of business.

    Similarly, Google lives by its search engine, and people at Google know it. There is nothing more important to Google than returning good search results, and if somebody else starts returning better ones Google is in deep trouble.

    It won't take much for me to conclude that a search engine operated by somebody like Microsoft or Apple is biased. A biased search engine isn't going to get me the results I want (unless, I guess, I agree with the bias, but in that case I run the risk of learning nothing and simply being confirmed in my ignorance). If Microsoft wants me to use Bing, they're going to have to be extra careful to avoid the appearance of bias.

  • Re:Not on my bing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:31AM (#28971875) Journal
    But that would be because you put it in quotes? And the guy writing the article didn't.
  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eevee (535658) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:34AM (#28971943)
    The surprise isn't that Microsoft is doing it, but rather that cio.com is the one calling them on it--a site aimed at upper management. This isn't fanboy-complaining, but business-complaining, something that will hit acceptance of Bing in the corporate environment.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:41AM (#28972037)

    Why would I use another search engine when I can use Google?

  • Re:Not on my bing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:43AM (#28972061)

    It's a search engine. If you use it correctly you get the results you want. By placing quotes around text you are searching for that phrase in your results. If you leave the quotes out then the search engine will return results that are more frequently searched for with those keywords. So is it Microsoft's fault that more people search for why macs are expensive as opposed to why windows are expensive?

  • Re:That's why.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentaye@gm a i l .com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:45AM (#28972097) Journal

    Google lives by its search engine, and people at Google know it.

    Actually, Google's main source of revenue is AdSense.

    We generated 99% of our revenues in 2007 and 97% of our revenues in 2008 from our advertisers.

    (from their 2008 annual report [google.com])

    Even though the most visible part of Google's activities is the search, I believe the corporate entity (maybe not the brand) would very well survive the demise of their search activity.

    Keep that in mind.

  • by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:46AM (#28972131) Homepage Journal

    Given the wealth and power involved, did you really expect them to respect fair play?

    Google does. The only reason Microsoft can't is its long standing corporate greed; the same kind of greed that will have a monkey stick his hand in a jar for a treat, and since he won't let go of the treat and his fist won't fit through the jar's neck, he's stuck.

    That's proably why (IMO, YMMV) their software sucks so badly. This is what I expected from bing and I'm surprised that anybody else was surprised.

    I also wasn't surprised to find at work that although I have IE's default search set to Google, when I typed a URL without the HTTP:// it gave bing search results page instead of a Google search results page. Like the late Lilly Tomlin's telephone operator character said smugly back when AT&T was the only phone company, "We're the phone company. We don't have to!

    I think it's pathetic.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:50AM (#28972173)
    Advertising and skewing search results are two VERY different things. Altering search results to your corporate whims makes your search engine useless IMHO, and the opinions of a lot of other people. That's what made Google so popular initially, their blind algorithm gave the 'best' results regardless of source or view.
  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noundi (1044080) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:52AM (#28972225)

    Does Google advertise Internet Explorer on Youtube?

    Either you're horribly offtopic or you're trying to imply that MS has a right to secretly manipulate search results in their favor (and not in the users favor such as e.g. prioritizing results from the country of which the user resides, google.es provides more spanish results and google.se provides more swedish results). If the latter then your question is irrelevant since this is not about advertisement at all. So either way you fail horribly.

  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:53AM (#28972255)
    I wish I had the link for you but when Google decided to stop supporting IE6 for YouTube, the page that stated such had links/icons to IE8, Firefox and then Chrome in that order. It really surprised me.
  • Re:yeah, but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caerwyn (38056) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:57AM (#28972313)

    Yes. One out of the rest of the front page.

    Bing has one *real* result out of the rest of the front page, which is a bit of a difference...

  • Re:yeah, but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:57AM (#28972317)

    Try these queries on Google:

    "why does chrome suck"

    "why does google suck"

    "why does android suck"

    Not one mention of Microsoft or Apple. You get what you asked for.

  • Re:And? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:06AM (#28972467)

    Does Google advertise Internet Explorer on Youtube?

    Advertising is different -- in advertising, there is no implied agreement that the text should be objective and informative. Advertisements do not pose as something, er, academic, and are often headed by a text declaring ADVERTISEMENT.

    A search engine, on the other hand, is expected (implicitly trusted) to be fair (re: Google China and other censorship cases). As such, in advertising Chrome, Google doesn't break an implied agreement between parties, the way Bing does. Microsoft's engine is not legally suspect, certainly, but it's also not playing it all out honest.

  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:07AM (#28972475)

    The surprise isn't that Microsoft is doing it, but rather that cio.com is the one calling them on it--a site aimed at upper management. This isn't fanboy-complaining, but business-complaining, something that will hit acceptance of Bing in the corporate environment.

    Definitely, since "Nobody ever got fired for specifying Microsoft", as the old saw goes.

    Of course, this was before the big financial meltdown, so things might be a bit different now...

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cabjf (710106) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:07AM (#28972479)

    It never seems to occur to them that people might be genuinely interested in results that reflect what they actually want.

    Sounds like the work of a bad programmer. Who else would take a question from a user and assume they know what the user really wants?

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:07AM (#28972485) Homepage Journal
    That, I hadn't picked up on. Perhaps we should have asked on whose behalf the engine was making those decisions.
  • Re:Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:11AM (#28972557) Homepage

    TFA states that they stopped doing it. He screencapped his results, but it's not surprising that you don't see it now.

    At least.. for now.. with those search queries..

    But can you trust them to give honest results later on when the heat is off again?

  • Re:And? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:25AM (#28972823) Journal

    Surprised, why?

    Surprised it took them this long, perhaps.

    Microsoft always do this with search engines. They seem to start from the assumption that any query represents a user problem, for which there exists a Microsoft based solution. Looked at that way, a search engine becomes an exercise in derailing the users interest, and redirecting into more profitable channels.

    There is a Microsoft based solution; it just usually involves uninstalling all their products.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by awrz (1009247) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:30AM (#28972897) Homepage

    What's even more amusing is the first result:

    Why are Mac's So Expensive? - Yahoo! Answers

    I could care less about whether or not macs are more expensive, or about commercial OSS prices.

    I just want accurate results from a search engine.

  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr_eX9 (800448) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:35AM (#28972981) Homepage

    That's not analogous at all. Bing is a search engine which is apparently tooled to boost Microsoft's agenda to the detriment of search result quality. Youtube is a website that is merely owned by a company that makes a web browser.

  • Google and Linux (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ender8282 (1233032) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:39AM (#28973089)
    Searching for "Why is windows so popular" returns a top hit of: HowStuffWorks "What is Linux and why is it so popular?" I am not sure that either Google or Microsoft are trying to bash each other. I think that there are just a lot more people who want to know why macs are expensive and the search engine pushes it to the top.
  • Re:And? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:41AM (#28973147)
    But it's not a search engine, it's a decision engine.. is it any surprise what they've decided?
  • Re:And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:55AM (#28973407)

    How is this interesting? It sounds like an urban legend. If you've taken an MCSE exam you will know that for the most part the questions don't lend themselves to being looked at that way. I'm not saying I like the MCSE exams, I think that it is an almost entirely worthless certification. But I do not for a second believe the above anecdote but am not surprised that it got mod'd Interesting on /..

  • Re:And? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @12:06PM (#28973609)

    Advertising and skewing search results are two VERY different things. Altering search results to your corporate whims makes your search engine useless IMHO, and the opinions of a lot of other people. That's what made Google so popular initially, their blind algorithm gave the 'best' results regardless of source or view.

    You think Google ranking is totally blind not favouring themselves? And that is the reason that Google News often tops search results, above the actual original sources, and Youtube is ranked above original sources, Google Shopping service is ranked prominently, etc. If you search for email, Gmail (the smallest of the large email services) is the top result. If you search for blogging, Google's Blogger is top result. Maps.. Google. Finance.. Google. All completely blind results?

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndrewNeo (979708) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @12:06PM (#28973613) Homepage

    But it's not a search engine, it's a decision engine! It's obviously deciding that Macs and Linux are more expensive than Windows, and tuning the results appropriately!

  • Re:And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday August 06, 2009 @12:10PM (#28973681) Homepage Journal

    You're comparing, um, apples to oranges. Try entering "why does Google suck" into Google. The very first link is to http://www.whydoesgooglesuck.com/ [whydoesgooglesuck.com]. Comparable behavior on Google's part to Microsoft would be if instead, you get suggestions on why Yahoo sucks.

  • Re:And? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spyowl (838397) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @12:48PM (#28974463)

    Not really. Ignoring all "news" results, searching Bing for "why is windows so expensive" on the first page I get:

    1. Why are Mac's so expensive

    2. Why so expensive - games for Windows Live
    This actually talks about why Macs are so expensive - because Apple controls all the hardware, etc.

    3. Why are vinyl windows so expensive
    Has nothing to do with software, OK

    4. Why are windows hosting providers so expensive

    5. Why are macbooks so expensive

    6. WikiAnswers - why are Apple Macs so expensive

    7. Windows Embedded Blog: Why is commercial OSS software so expensive

    8. Why are macs so expensive

    9. Why are macs so expensive

    10. Why fish is so expensive

    Using Google search for the same on the first page I get:

    1. Why Windows Vista and Office 2007 are so expensive

    2. Is Windows getting more expensive? CNET news

    3. Windows 7 to be "more expensive" than Vista, XP

    4. Writing on the wall: why Windows is so expensive

    5. Why are vinyl windows so expensive?
    - same non-software result as on Bing, which is OK

    6. Omfg Vista Is So Expensive - Windows Vista and Windows 7

    7. Why is the IBM thinkpad x301 laptop so expensive with mediocre

    8. Why are Macs so expensive? | News | TechRadar UK

    9. Gizmodo - The World's Most Expensive Copy of Windows XP - XP

    10. FAQs - City of Port Phillip Website
    - why is double glazing windows so expensive?

    So, while Google mixed in one result for Macs being expensive at the #8 spot, most results are actually about Windows being expensive and relevant to the search query.

    In contrast, there are no results from Bing that talk about Windows being expensive - only one about Windows hosting providers being expensive, but most results are about Macs being expensive, and one about commercial OSS being expensive.

    This is actually a pretty good job by a "decision engine" - taking the negative search terms about their products and applying them to their competitors products. Cute.

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