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Bing - A guide to the most innovative search engine

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.

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.

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.

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.

Microsoft recognised that there would be a brand issue as long as the word "Live" remained in the name. As an effort to create a new identity for Microsoft's search services, Live Search was officially replaced by Bing on June 3, 2009.

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. All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.

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. 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." The Wall Street Journal notes the 1% jump in share "appeared to come at the expense of rival Google Inc". In February 2011 Bing beat Yahoo! for the first time with 4.37% search share while Yahoo! received 3.93%.

Counting core searches only, i.e. those where the user has an intent to interact with the search result, Bing had a market share of 14.54% in the second quarter of 2011 in the US.

The combined "Bing Powered" U.S. searches have declined from 26.5 percent in 2011 to 25.9 in April 2012.

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Yeah...

Bing is garbage. If you want to look at some serious numbers, look at traffic driven to pages by Bing. In all the pages I've run, we're looking at 1-3% maximum. Since Youtube has started driving searches, that might be down to 1-2% on my books.

Eric Hoffer