Category Archives: bing

Choosing a side in Bing vs Google

The drama between Bing and Google is dieing down, it seems that both sides have thrown the punches at each other and the name calling is dieing down. There’s been shots fired across each others respective bows, the evidence however is still rather difficult to deny.

Google setup some search results in order to determine if their hunch was correct about Bing skimming reseults. It can be construed as underhanded to setup a competitor, realisitcally though it proved their point. What Google found was that when a user searched using the Google engine, in the IE8 browser those results are (allegedly) being used as data to build the Bing search results. Bing fired back with the examples of the image search, search results layout and a few other technological upgrades that Google has incorporated into their search.

You can find more than enough information about the row between the two search giants anywhere online with a quick search ironically. Everyone has an opinion on the matter of course, but I think the white elephant in the room has to be mentioned. Tech companies always borrow, beg and steal ideas and methods from each other, especially if those methods work and draw an audience. Google realized from a visual perspective, that the elements Bing had incorporated into their results pages were popular to users. On the other side of the fence, Bing used user data and click throughs from the IE8 browser and use of the Bing bar to help build their results pages.

One company borrows visual elements to a search page, the other company borrows the actual contents of the search results pages. Apples and oranges in my opinion, but as I said earlier we all have one.

The End of IPv4

The internet is running out of IP addresses, Bing is copying Google, Facebook can’t handle your data and locally we’re resisitant to change. The loss of IPs online has been broached in the last few days, and the as the last block allocations are doled out I’m certain that the naysayers will be heralding the end of the world (wide web). At least on some level of course.

Bing copied Google’s search results on a really obscure search term, as Bing cries foul over Google copying some of their display methods. It’s one thing to copy a snippet tool to display where on a page information was located and a change in how images are displayed. It’s an entirely new bag of snakes when you literally build your results based upon the users actions on another search engine. Bing has cried foul as well over being setup in Google’s honeypot action and well, that was the point. Google noticed a trend of Bings top 10 searches bearing much the same results as Googles. A hypothesis was formulated as to why and how this could happen, and a test was executed. It just so happens that the test came back positive, and Bing has been caught red handed sneaking results. Deal with it, learn from it, for Gods sakes admit it and carry on.

Facebook is no stranger to drama, what with randomly changing privacy permissions and alalowing app developers to scrape user information. But the newest slip up from the social networking giant is perhaps not so much their fault directly, but indirectly. In a showcase as perhaps the biggest reason to maintain control over your information on the web, 250,000 Facebook profiles were scraped to build a dating website. While the act of scraping data is malicious, and Facebook has promptly leapt to legal action to have the site blocked and removed, it bears mentioning that identity thieves don’t care about terms of use on websites. Is it Facebook’s fault directly? Not exactly, but a campaign of information, clearly outlining how to control your information and keep it under lock and key should you so desire is long overdue. As well as refining again the security features and controls, and make them more obvious; perhaps even going so far as to include a big button that says: I want my information to be private!!

And just to switch things to a local, Winnipeg front for a moment. A downtown restaurant, long heralded as an icon in it’s uniqueness, the Paddlewheel Restaurant is to be closed and renovated. In the story I’ve most recently read about the eatery, the vast majority of the comments and content were unhappy with the coming closure, citing their memories of past visits with friends and family as evidence of enduring success. “It doesn’t need to change” and “It shouldn’t change” were the over lording tones of the piece. There was a video accompanying the story, and while it was somewhat saddening to hear about how a visit to the restaurant with their mother and grandmother for a plate of fries and a coke would be gone with the change, change needs to happen. By the way, the aforementioned visit with family, the fries and coke cost 15 cents to purchase. The video was filled entirely with elderly visitors, no doubt the frequenters of the establishment with the exception of one gentleman interviewed whose thoughts were simply “I understand it’s popular among those with a history of coming here”. The idea that change is bad needs to leave the collective thought process of this town, change is anything but bad. Scary, exciting, turbulent and it can even be smooth, safe and uneventful. But it’s never a bad thing. Change is inevitable, it’s when people, places and the environment they exist in cease to change that they wither and die. Take a clue from one of the oldest businesses still in operation today, in order to survive, they need to change.

Brave New World of Search

In the midst of the unrest in Egypt, the name calling and hand slapping that’s been going on between Google and Bing. There’s only one other interesting point of note that’s about to occur within the online tech industry.

The world wide web, is about to run out of IP addresses. Just like back when the toll free system ran out of 800 numbers, it won’t be the end of absolutely everything, or anything for that matter, it’s only an eventuality that was expected. The speed at which it’s happened however was a surprise to the web watchers out there. IPv4 has been touted for a long time as being an outdated system, and a backup has long been in the works, there’s only one small catch. At it’s present state, the new standard of IPv6, isn’t compatible with IPv4. One of the biggest issues with compatiblity however is simply an issue of age. A lot of the older software and hardware isn’t quite ready to be compatible with the 64bit addressing system due to come into play. The world of business and productivity has long been overdue for an overhaul in technology, and as the newer IPv6 comes more and more to the forefront as the addressing system of the web, the change will become mandatory.

Only a quick note on the he said/he said drama between Bing and Google, this time it’s Microsoft firing back at the search giant. While the Bing team hasn’t come right out and said “no we don’t swipe Google’s searches” they’ve said that they do use 1,000 different search variables in building their results pages. Additionally, they’ve made it a point to mention that Google has copied some of the search display features which were implemented in the Bing engine. While Google did indeed copy the display of the results, they did not however, scrape results from Bing searches as it’s becoming more and more apparent that this was the tactic used by Bing.

Both of these factors in tandem are set to change the internet and the world of search. It may be time to hang on as it has the potential to be a wild ride.

Bings lack of Privacy

In the midst of all of the brouhaha with Microsoft and Google pointing fingers at each other, there’s a few key points that need to be brought to bear.

Yes, this is the online world where an original idea is like a spark from a fire in the night, brilliantly bright and hot and burning out in seconds. That doesn’t mean however that in working in an additional business model, plagiarism is the best route forward. The “sting operation” as it’s been called, which Google used to confirm their suspicions that Bing was directly copying their search results were based around gibberish searches. Around a search term of “mbzrxpgjys” for example. Google ensured from the get go that the term returned no search results in either engine, and when a few weeks later after setting up the trap the same results appeared, the evidence was, well, evident.

The other main argument that’s being circulated in the news and blogs around the web is similar to the first, that all Bing did was keep up the pace with the big dog in the (search) game. It’s easy to concede the point that when you see a successful business model, with room for more in the same field, that it should be somewhat free game to copy a step here and there. Take Groupon and the plethora of clones which have been springing up using the same business model. Bing however, went over the line in copying a step or two. The point which is being left out in the stories as of late, the Bing results were populated via click through data pulled from users of Internet Explorer searching via Google. Users of Internet Explorer, used Google to search for the term “mbzrxpgjys”, and that click through data was used to populate Bing results.

Microsoft Internet Explorer tracks your search query, your click through data and then uses that data from a competing search engine to build their own (Bing) search results page.

Gee, and people worry about Google keeping things private.

Bing Cheating Google!

The internet was born out of the idea of collaboration. That you could work on an idea and have your coworker be from the other side of the globe and it would make everything seem that much closer to home and cozy. It’s not a huge surprise that technologies are borrowed and repackaged and used as companies own, but it’s rare that one gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak. And yet Bing, has just been caught.

Google has come out and said pointedly that Microsoft Bing has been cheating in their search results, and stealing Googles results pages and displaying them as their own. Normally this kind of finger pointing can be downplayed as a type of borrowing, as it’s mainly the idea that’s been used, but in this case Microsoft actually admitted it.

Stefan Weitz, director of Microsoft’s Bing

As you might imagine, we use multiple signals and approaches when we think about ranking, but like the rest of the players in this industry, we’re not going to go deep and detailed in how we do it. Clearly, the overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search, so we can guess at the best and most relevant answer to a given query.

Opt-in programs like the [Bing] toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. This “Google experiment” seems like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these signals.

How did Google work out what was going on? Aside from doing individual searches and directly comparing results, Google started noticing a rapidly rising overlap in top 10 results pages with Bing. So in order to verify their suspicions, Google rigged some searches. They created a bunch of fake searches which returned little to no results in Google and in Bing, and then placed a page at the top of those results in order to catch them with their hand in the jar. Because the pages were artificially placed in the results, it would be easy to confirm or deny their suspicions. The full fledged experiment began in mid December, and in just a couple of weeks the results began showing up in the Bing results.

In the end, Bing isn’t really really doing anything illegal, if anything it’s like they’re cheating on their math test. Google does all of the work, Bing reaps the same reward as their search opposition. Because no action could realistically be taken, the decision is in the hands of the users, and it puts a taint on all searches performed in Bing. Are they genuine search returns? Or are they just what they’ve managed to snag from the Google results pages.

The Greatest Guessing Game

What is the greatest guessing game you ask? It’s the game which has made Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, as well as other search engine start ups and even failures, piles of money just by mention of the word. Search, is the greatest guessing game.

What happened when Google took the game and applied it’s own rules, was dominate the online community as it propelled itself forward, clawing and fighting for all of the infomation it could find. There are various illustrations of the web which come to mind when it’s pictured. Firstly as a web of course, of interconnecting websites and pages, all of which the search bots, spiders naturally, navigate their way around and build up this interconnectability between them. I’ve seen pictures of the internet visualized as planets in galaxies and solar systems, as continents on a map and even as a DNA strand at one point. The best visualization I can come up with is that of an ocean, and all of the websites and pages of the internet are just kind of floating around. People are like little fish, darting around from point to point, sometimes finding what they want, sometimes not. But it’s a fluid environment, never the same from day to day and always on the move.

An article written about which search engine is better at delivering relevant results was the inspiration for today. It tried to demonstrate that by using identical results in different search engines, that one could clearly deliver better and more relevant results than the other. The reality is I believe, much murkier than that. Google is absolutely a brand name, and used extensively in all walks of life. Bing is working hard on branding itself as a decision engine and not a search engine, but in the end both algorithms do primarily the same thing. They guess at what you’re looking for, they guess that they’re delivering you what you want to see and they guess mostly correct only because you’ve already told them what you want to see. Whether it’s via your search history, cookies saved on your computer or even your directly typed search query. Search is still just a game, and for now Google still plays it best. The internet and online technology being what it is, we’ll revisit the topic in a year and everything may be upside down.

Internet Clarity

Facebook killers, Google killers, Bing killers.. it’s a wonder we have an internet experience at all with all of thie violence online. The most interesting part about all of the ‘killers’ out there however, is that none of it’s true. At least, not in the plainest definition of the word ‘killer’.

Facebook isn’t out to kill or replace Google, and Google isn’t out to kill Bing or Facebook or any other online entity out there. Everyone of those sites are players online, and for the most part have captivated the audience in their respective arena. Google has search and advertising, Facebook is the global social network, and Bing tries to be a little bit of both while propping up Yahoo with their results. Competition breeds creativity and provides a marketplace for other businesses and entrepreneurs to make a name for themselves, whether by carving out a niche for themselves, or being unique, and good enough at what they do, to be gulped up by the larger fish. Facebook, Google and Bing all play by much the same rulebook: if it can’t be built in house, either buy it or find it and adapt. The one key point that those big players all agree on as well, is they want to make the internet a more engaging place to be. Facebook has their games, groups and pages, Google has maps, places and search marketing, and Bing has social search, maps and a unique search page.

So when you’re reading your paper in the moring, watching the news or going through your emails for the day and the words ‘Facbook/Google killer’ are in the subject or title line, take the thoughts with a grain of salt. There isn’t any new tech out there which will just swoop in and replace everyone, nor will there be any massive swings of usage online. All of the major players each provide much different services, and while Bing and Google remain the closest in terms of the ‘competitor’ angle, even they will admit they do things differently with different focus.

Socially Searching – Google and Bing Social Metrics

Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs as it’s less of a mouthful, is the organic listing of relevant results returned from a search query. Or even simpler put, it’s the list you get when you search in Google, Bing or any other search engine. Google states that they have more than 200 different ranking factors which determine the results pages. Criteria ranging from anchor text, titles, incoming links and so on down the list. Bing, while they have a different algorith, hence different results, works upon the same principles as Googles. There needs to be some backbone, or authority to the people linking to your site to really have any significant driving force. Growing your site, and letting your information onto the web is akin to sprinkling seeds to contribute to your growth, it’s where the term organic results comes from. And now to muddy things up a tad, Google and Bing have started with a new layer of criteria, social factors.

It’s one thing for a robot to navigate the web, and rank websites according to which sites have the most content, or relevant content and return those results to you. But it’s another when you add into the mix that your Facebook friends (presumably) enjoy the same things as you do and ‘Like’ a site with that dastardly Facebook button. Bing is riding on this wagon, as when you’re signed into Facebook and search on Bing, you’ll receive results with your Facebook friends list helping to determine what’s relevant to your search as well. Google social, grabs the trending social information out there, and if it’s relevant to your query returns it as well, primarily in a scrolling box as new results come in.

As I mentioned in yesterdays blog post, social media will not be going away. The web is a social environment, encompassing the globe for anyone and everyone to say their piece. How you use that to assist in leveraging your business can’t be a half though out idea. If social media marketing is important to you, you will need to put hours of your time, or someone who knows your business to help push it in the social arena. Everything from tweeting sales and upcoming deals, to answering customers questions and concerns on Facebook. There was a decent Q&A by Danny Sullivan about how Google and Bing are starting to use social media as search leverage of sorts, an interesting read but the answers weren’t surprising.

SEO is Dead!? Again?

In the not so new news, the death of SEO is being cried again. The cause this time is the Facebook and Bing partnership. I’ve read about the social search changes that have been incorporated, and just as Google shrugged it off, I’m inclined to do the same.

The changes that Bing and Facebook bring together is definitely interesting, no doubt. However, the idea that the entire industry of search marketing, search engine optimization and search engine rankings being dealt a deathblow by this partnership is laughable. If anything, the new partnership relies on SEO and SEM to function appropriately.

For another perspective, imagine going into a hardware store, and seeing all of the isles and rows numbered and having short labels for the contents of each row. Makes your shopping trip quick and efficient to know that you can find power drills and skill saws in the power tools isle. This would be a very basic example of SEO. Now applying the new Facebook/Bing method, you’re in that same hardware store, nothing is labelled or itemized (because it’s killed SEO remember) but you know there’s a power drill in there that your friend likes and owns. Great to know that your buddy has a favorite tool that you were thinking about, but how do you go about finding it?

Two very basic examples, but they illustrate the interpretation of the new personalized search Bing and Facebook are rolling out. Social Media Optimization (SMO) isn’t a new idea, it’s not revolutionary, it’s adwords on a more personal level. It displays information relative and relavant to your account and what it knows about you, not for your searchs. One last point to consider and digest, without search engine optimization, social media optimization wouldn’t exist, and without SEO, SMO will disappear.

The New Social Search – BingBook?

There was the big conference today from Microsoft Bing and Facebook, and from the sounds of things they’re trying to give the world of search a stiff shake. The partnership idea that’s been rolled out (very small snippet) is when you search for an item or topic on Bing, your socially relevant searches would appear first. Your friends likes/dislikes on a subject or topic that you’ve plugged in. Some good questions have been asked from the conference, items of privacy of course what with Facebooks infamous history thus far, and of course someone asked about the money incentive (no answer on that last one). The far reaching goal is that your search is tailored exclusively for you. It’s personalization of the SERPs for *everyone* who uses Bing.

About the privacy factor, the social search angle is functioning like a module within Bing. A module, which can be turned off should you choose to shut it.

Zuckerberg stated : “We have this idea. 500 million people can look you up on Facebook. We think why shouldn’t applications be able to do this to?”

Because everyone is searchable on Facebook, set to private or not, the train of thought is to allow applications the same level of trust. Bascially you’re allowing Bing, to see all of your informationg you’ve made public on Facebook, and makes that information searchable to your friends list.

The social search angle isn’t meant to completely remove the traditional SERPs page you’re accustomed to seeing, it’s being added to help personalize your queries and provide you with unique results, relevant to you. It’s an updated twist on the personalized search results you start to see within Google for example, minus the cookie saving sessions. The negative side I personally see at this juncture, would be the fact that you need to Opt-out of the service should you choose not to use it. Some would think Facebook learned their opt-in, opt-out lessons by now. Only time now will be the determining factor on this new idea.