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Microsoft Lost Search War By Ignoring the Long Tail 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wonder-if-it's-prehensile dept.
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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Microsoft Lost Search War By Ignoring the Long Tail

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  • Same old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mystery00 (1100379) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:25AM (#31646786)
    Company releases an inferior product, much later to the game than competition, makes excuses for failure, water still wet.
    • by kjart (941720)

      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.

      • by JamesP (688957)

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gadget_Guy (627405) *

        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

      • The Data (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:35AM (#31647146) Homepage Journal

        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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:29AM (#31647534) Journal

          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

        • by Risen888 (306092)

          Well of course Google hasn't charged you anything. That's because you are not their customer. Advertisers are.

          You are their product.

          • Oh? Really? Lemme see - I select which adverts I see, if any. Google doesn't track me very much at all. Their "tailored" advertising doesn't work on me - I'm as likely to see feminine hygiene products as firearms and survivalist gear. I'm their product? I don't think so. Joe Clueless and Betty Airhead may indeed be Google's products, but I'm not. Have you looked at the Firefox addons? Do you use Privoxy or any other anonymizing software?

            As I said, IF anyone is going to make money off of me, it will

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by wmac (1107843)
        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
      • by number6x (626555) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @11:23AM (#31647948)

        Performance is comparable to Google, but I get the impression that Bing's results are more skewed for people looking to purchase things on line. Try some basic 'how to' queries (how to caulk a window, how to make pancakes, etc) and see if you get more product related hits returned near the top with Bing than with Google.

        This isn't a criticism, just an observation. It could be a smart thing for MS. It will help them squeeze more advertising dollars out of smaller market share.

        It seems to me that Bing may be a better tool for shopping than Google is, but Google is a better tool for searching than Bing is.

        Bing's problem then becomes that there are several better tools for shopping and comparing prices than Bing offers.

    • Re:Same old (Score:5, Funny)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:49AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      makes excuses for failure

      "We messed up" isn't really an excuse.
      • by rtb61 (674572)

        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

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Matt Perry (793115)

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

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

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:59AM (#31647332) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thijsh (910751)
        Isn't that their self-admitted tactic? I read recently that Microsoft does not innovate, they wait until others prove new tech and move in either by buying their way in or just by copying the competition (if it's fairly trivial). Whatever you may think of it it is a legitimate business tactic... but they won't get the respect from the tech community that Google gets. We geeks love innovation, and the people that do the coolest research 'for us' are our modern day geek heroes. :)
    • by MrCrassic (994046)

      It's simpler than that. Bing offers nothing that makes users want to use their search engine instead of Google's. Google is a verb in the English language. When people think of finding something on the web, they think of Google.

      Bing doesn't even look like Google when one reaches their landing page; this, accompanied with worries about malware search engines and such, would make people who aren't as in-the-know wonder why that isn't Google. Intelligently, Google protected their landing page to prevent Micros

  • Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:25AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ascari (1400977)
      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.
      • by nomadic (141991)
        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... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Greg Hullender (621024) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:10AM (#31647414) Homepage Journal
        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
        • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk.gmail@com> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:20AM (#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.

          • 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.
            • by gbjbaanb (229885)

              Turned out it was generated by (if I recall correctly) an MSN application of some kind.

              I suppose that's one way to boost your user count :)

              • Not that anyone besides us ever got to see those numbers. Anyway, as time went by, it became clear that bot-generated queries often outnumbered real ones anyway. (Another reason not to put too much stock in the query logs.) --Greg
          • by Joce640k (829181)

            "google" and "yahoo" could easily be generated by people typing in the search box instead of the address bar (I've seen people do it - every time they want to use google they type "google" in the search box then then click the search result to go there).

            "internet explorer" I'm not too sure about. I can't imagine anybody typing that.

            • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

              Agreed, I think people typing google/yahoo into the searchbar says a lot though, I would be very hesitant to disregard those results.

              • Yeah, there's a reason why we didn't immediately figure it out.

                And, yes, people certainly do enter "yahoo" as a search query: it turns out that a lot of people depended on the fact that we'd return a whole pages of results from yahoo.com, and they'd use that as an easier way to navigate the site internals.

                However, it's a long step from "people do that sometimes" to "5% of all queries are like that."

                When we changed the engine so it only gave two results from a single site, we did get complaints from pe

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      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!

    • by fermion (181285)
      Search engines are also about driving customers or marks to certain sites. Google came about because simple keyword identifiers were to easy to use to fool the search engines. Key word robots came about because the web go to big to manually organize on popular key words and such indexes missed the niches.

      On one hand, MS did good because google is not very good for popular searches. Inevitably many of the front page results will include link farms, some delivering mal ware. OTOH, many people do not use g

  • by timholman (71886) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:31AM (#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.

    • by Kneo24 (688412)

      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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by plankrwf (929870)

      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,

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      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?"
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        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.
        • I do not presume that Google is being dishonest here.

          Which nicely illustrates why Bing is a no-hoper! Most people can tell the difference between good and evil when they see it on a web page. Hint: if the search results are rigged, then its not the product you want! Many of us remember when the answer was Barnes and Noble or Alamo Car Rental regardless of what the question was ....

          Find "expletive deleted" at Alamo Car Rentals Yea, that will work!

        • 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.

          That's because there is a lot more precedent for Microsoft being engaged in questionable activities than the same for Google. Sorry, but Microsoft has indeed earned its reputation, and you can't fault people for remembering the past and therefore presuming the worst.

    • by anss123 (985305)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smpoole7 (1467717)

      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.

    • 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 ex [google.com]

    • "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!

    • 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 th

    • In the 90's you could type "Linux" into a Microsoft search engine and get half a dozen hits when Infoseek (this was before google...) gave a million-odd.

      That was when Microsoft lost me as a customer for their search engines - past, present, future. I really haven't bothered to try Bing and never will.

  • Lost? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:38AM (#31646836) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Sure (Score:5, Funny)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:44AM (#31646868) Homepage

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <[ku.oc.nez] [ta] [senoj.selig]> on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:44AM (#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.

  • MapReduce Thinking? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segedunum (883035) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:48AM (#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?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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...

        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          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.
  • by astrashe (7452) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @08:50AM (#31646914) Journal

    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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd pay a subscription for such a thing.

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

      You can even google it ;-)

    • by Fex303 (557896) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:11AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RPoet (20693)

        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.

    • 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.

    • 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 resoundi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

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

      No you wouldn't. Seriously, let's be real - you absolutely would not pay for a subscription to a search engine.

      And neither would anyone else. Nobody.

      There are simply too many free alternatives out there (Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista, etc., etc., etc.) - only a complete and utter twit who was absolutely new to the internet would pay for a subscription to a search engine.

      If you're going to suggest a business model, at least suggest one that has some vague, remote possibility of being successful.

  • by jav1231 (539129)
    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
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``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?''

      It's all about control. For many people, their default search engine is basically their gateway to the World Wide Web, perhaps even the entire Internet. If you control that search engine, this gives you a huge amount of control.

      There are many ways to monetize this control. Other people in this discussion have suggested altering the results of queries to favor your (profitab

    • Google makes it money with ads. Search is one of their means to display said ads. Kill their search, kill their ads, kill their income, kill them putting more and more of productivity on the web, stop them killing MS products.

      MS is not directly intrested in seach, but they are intrested in keeping control over where applications run. The more they can control that, the more they can keep selling their products.

      Take gmail. Nobody who wants to be taken serious uses hotmail anymore, but that is not the point

  • 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.

  • by Orion_ (83461) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @09:52AM (#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.)

    • by Eryq (313869)

      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.

  • Bing sucks (Score:4, Informative)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @10:05AM (#31647374) Homepage

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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
  • Too much eye candy and/or AJAX nonsense. This is especially true for image search. My laptop chokes trying to render it sometimes. I shouldn't have to buy the lates, greatest, desktop replacement laptop just do do an image search. Also, it seems to want to popup or something when you click an image. Maybe there's a fix for that which doesn't involve dumbing down my IE security settings. I have to admit I never tried it on Chrome, I just gave up on it and went back to Google.

    Because of their non-simple

  • "When developing search engine technology ...." maybe the first problem was calling it "developing search engine technology". Sounds pretentious to me. Especially compared to what came out. Stephan
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 28, 2010 @12:25PM (#31648488) Homepage

    Remember Cuil [cuil.com]? They were originally talking about the "long tail"; they wanted to have a bigger index than Google. Cuil is mostly ex-Google people, and they thought they could re-do Google at lower cost.

    Didn't help Cuil.

    There's ongoing effort in search engine development. Unless you pay close attention, though, it's invisible. A few years ago, around 2007, Yahoo introduced about fifty specialized search sub-engines. These understood weather, stocks, sports, celebrities, movies, and similar popular search topics. They focused on areas that have a strong structure, and need a lookup engine that understands that structure. For about six months, Yahoo was way ahead of Google on such searches.

    Didn't help Yahoo. Google implemented something similar and caught up. Now everybody does that.

    It's not clear that the Twitter search is a win. Bing announced they were going to do Twitter and Facebook searches, and a day later, Google announced they'd do that too. Google implemented Twitter search, and apparently Bing didn't. Twitter search just seems to clutter up Google results.

    In the last year, Google has become much more aggressive about interpreting queries. Google tries hard to infer from the query words what the user is really looking for. This tends to work for popular queries (since it's based on statistics from other queries) and doesn't work too well for unusual queries. For hard queries, you need to use explicit operators ('+' and '"') with Google more than you did a year ago.

    The big search engines are still doing badly at de-rating sites which are basically link farms. When you're searching for a product, and you get a hit that's just some site with ad links to other sites, that's a fail. Search for auto parts, and you're likely to get "parts.com", "thepartsbin.com" and "who-sells-it.com", which are just "portals". They don't even return pages that are actually about the part in question. ("thepartsbin.com" pages are all essentially the same, except for keywords inserted for SEO purposes.) Search engines need to look at the business behind the web site. If a business has a million commercial-looking web pages, and a total business volume of a few million dollars, they're probably bogus. That's a part of the "long tail" you don't need to visit.

  • Surely ignoring the least common queries is the most stupid thing to do... For the most common things, most people generally know where to go anyway... Search engines are for when you're actually looking for something.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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