Bing Category Archive
Interested in the New Bing and unable to see it or would you just like a quick overview, now that it is supposed to be available to all U.S. users? See my NewsBreak on the New Bing. While the Facebook integration is interesting and has garnered the most press, I am also interested in seeing whether searchers find that the claims of increased relevance hold up, and as the new "Snapshot" (center column) is further populated with quick answers and other information, I will be interested to see how often if provides me with helpful information, especially in comparison to Google's new Knowledge Graph.
If like me you are not yet seeing all the new Bing features (or if you are outside the U.S. where they have not yet been introduced), Danny provides an excellent and in-depth overview with his Bing Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar posted yesterday. It seems that to see most of these new features requires
- being in the U.S.
- having Facebook and/or Twitter accounts
- being logged into Bing using Facebook Connect and your account
According to Bing's announcement, "In the coming days we will be releasing this to users in the United States. If you would like to be one of the first people to experience the new Bing, visit www.bing.com/new, to receive an email notification when it's available."
The social sidebar, in particular, seems to provide some possible ways for librarians and information professionals to be available to their users during a Bing search, if you can get your users to use Bing and connect to you via Facebook.
Yesterday I noticed a new left margin icon appearing on some results at Bing. A small, grey, curved, upward arrow shows up just to the left of the title on results that are "trending" on Facebook and/or Twitter. These trend icons appear whether or not I am logged in. I am guessing that it is part of Bing's newly relaunched social search push although it is not mentioned in today's announcement:: "Introducing the New Bing: Spend Less Time Searching, More Time Doing." Since I do not yet see the new social search even when logged in, you can read reports from The Atlantic, Danny at Search Engine Land, and see Bing's video embedded below.
The trend arrow icons only shows up for currently popular topics (probably popular links but I am not sure) on Twitter and/or Facebook. Note in the image on the right how one example just notes Twitter while the other says "Trending on Twitter and Facebook." Like the thumbs-up icon for sites "liked" by friends on Facebook, Both of the examples in the image (animated GIF, refresh this page to see it again) worked yesterday but not today, so this information must be refreshed somewhat frequently. I find this additional information interesting and potentially useful. Since the social search is not yet visible to me and is supposed to only be available in the U.S., I am assuming that this trend icon is visible outside the U.S., at least on the main Bing site, but send me a tweet @notess if not.
Here's Bing's video about the new social search:
Late last night I started seeing the new Bing user interface live on results pages in all my browsers. I first saw it last week in a slightly different version, but now it is official and has been reported on by Verge, TechCrunch, and SearchEngineLand. Most of the focus is on whether the new "cleaner" look is more like Google used to be, but a few comments have noticed some of what is missing from this new search results page:
I see or hear about all kinds of Google user interface changes tested by being made available to a small fraction of users. Yesterday I came across one from Bing. The main changes I noticed:
- History gone
- Related searches moved to the right of results
- Far fewer results at the top
- Less color: move to grey or black icons and database names
Some reports and screenshots are surfacing from searchers seeing a new user interface and look at Bing. Like with Google, these user interface (UI) experiments are probably being shown to a small fraction of searchers and responses are being measured. Whether any of the pictured changes will be adopte will depend on how users respond to them.
I can't see either version on any browser that I've checked, but from the screenshots, the main changes seem to be
- Bing Logo in upper left has part of the daily picture behind it in a small square rather than across the whole header
- The search box is more easily visible on the plain color background, but there are few databases listed above the box to switch to (just Images, Videos, and Shopping in one or Images and Videos in the other
- The links in the upper right are styled differently, with the gear icon for preferences smaller and the drop down menu for signing in larger
- Tabs for other databases under the search box are gone
- Another version has no image behind the logo and the database links at the top moved further to the left
New Experimental UI:
New Experimental UI on Right when signed in:
Bing has been experimenting and making changes, some of which do not get announced (like the movement of the cached link). Here are a few changes that I've noticed recently: the addition of tiles, changes to Wikipedia results, and links to Academic Search.
First of all is the addition of Tiles to search results for certain sites. The graphic tile which shows up to the right are only for specific sites with which Bing has identified. The idea is that they can include quick information as well as being a visual tag for the search result to show that it comes from a known (presumably quality) web site. In this example of a search for a restaurant, the second and third hit are from OpenTable and Yelp. Not only are the logos displayed, but the review ratings are summarized and the number of reviews are included.
Try searching a movie or TV show to see Bing Tiles from the Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube, TV Guide, and Flickster. Travel searches may show Tiles from Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Orbitz. Surprisingly, Wikipedia results have no tile. While Tiles are now live, Bing has yet to officially announce them. They are described first in a long interview at SEOmoz from about a month ago. In a later report about the Tiles from LiveSide.net, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that these are not sponsored (paid) listings, but that they are partnerships with known brands. They are also not supposed to impact ranking. That reports notes that "the initial partnerships with 45 authoritative sites would be expanded."
Speaking of the lack of Wikipedia Tiles, Bing has several times changed how Wikipedia results appear. Earlier on, there was a "Wikipedia on Bing" version of Wikipedia articles which was linked from Bing results. Called a Wikipedia vertical, Director of Bing, Stefan Weitz comments in the same long interview that "we removed the vertical due to low usage." Wikipedia results are still there, and rank high for many searches, but no Tile or vertical link highlights those links, at this time.
Lastly, if you've not looked at Microsoft Academic Search for awhile, it is worth noting that work on this beta search product continues and seems to have moved beyond its early computer science focus. I came across links to it from Bing when I searched for my friend Gary Price. At the bottom of the search results page is a link to extensive information from Academic Search including number of papers, number of citations, and latest papers, all with links. In that example, it was a different Gary, but take a look at a search like one on the author John Fryxell and note the links at the bottom into Microsoft Academic Search.
I think I'll be taking a closer look at Academic Search in the near future.
Over the past week has come news of Bing and Google using whitelists, speculations of blacklists, Google's announcement of site blocking by signed in users, and the disappearance of the bookmarking stars which replaced SearchWiki. Just to confuse matters further, depending on which Google version you use, browser version, and apparently the toss of the dice, you may or may not be able to even see some of these changes.
So I'll try to summarize my understanding. First, Danny reports that at the SMX West conference last week, "both Google and Bing said they have "exception lists" for sites that might get hit by some algorithm signals." In other words, some of the spam identification algorithms that find and demote lots of sites in the rankings may also demote sites that were not supposed to have gotten hit. Those sites get put in the whitelist for that particular algorithm. An article from The Register claims that this contradicts statements from Google in certain lawsuits and continues with examples of similar actions that look like site blacklisting.
Most searchers can hope that the blacklisting and whitelisting improves search results and removes irrelevant hits, but if we don't know what has been listed, it is hard to determine how true that is. On the same day, Google announced a new ability for logged-in searchers to block results from specific domains. Don't like see so many eHow results? Just block them all. Or so the the theory goes. Not only must you be logged in to a Google account to have the option, but you have to use Google.com in English with the right browser. According to the announcement on 3/10/11, "The new feature is rolling out today and tomorrow on google.com in
English for people using Chrome 9+, IE8+ and Firefox 3.5+, and we'll be
expanding to new regions, languages and browsers soon."
Maybe. Karen has some screenshots in her post from a few days later, but I have been trying since the announcement, using the right Google in the right language with several supported browsers and different accounts. Here in Montana, I still can't see it almost a week later. I've turned Instant on and off. I've tried from home and on campus. Still no luck. Comments on Karen's post also note both that others can't see it and that it may go away. On top of that, the stars have been turned off that allowed signed in users to star (bookmark) certain results so that they'd come back at the top of results pages later. The bookmarked pages remain bookmarked, but for now at least, the ability to star new ones has vanished. Or as Barry puts it, you "You Can Hate (Block) But No Longer Love (Star) Google's Search Results." For me, that means I can now neither star or block results.
In the past few weeks, both Bing and Google have announced changes to their social searching. With Blekko also having social searching via Facebook connect, I thought I'd compare how successful and useful I found each of the three, and explore the new announcements in a bit more depth. First though, for more searchers, social search may be a waste of time. If you do not have a large Facebook network of friends (or don't use Facebook), avoid Twitter, and have not built a social network, there is nothing to search. Or if you have a large Facebook or Twitter network of friends and family, but you want to search professional topics that are not of interest to those friends and family, the social search results will offer little but amusement, if you even see them.
But if you do have a social network and are interested in searching the "likes" of Facebook friends, Tweets, or posts in Google Reader, read on to see what's new and how to find the social results.
I love cached copies of web pages for many reasons, but with the consolidation of search engines, the number of sources for a cached page has been decreasing. So imagine my dismay when I noticed the lack of links to a cached page copy at Bing recently. Fortunately, they are still there. The links are just a bit harder to find.
Read the rest of this post and watch the screencast to see how to find the new Bing cache link location: