What the Bing Search Engine Brings to Microsoft's Web Strategy

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-07-03
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What the Bing Search Engine Brings to Microsoft's Web Strategy
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    What the Bing Search Engine Brings to Microsoft's Web Strategy

    By Don Reisinger
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    Let's Start With the Main Feature: Search
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    Let's Start With the Main Feature: Search

    Since Microsoft introduced the search engine in 2009, Bing has been criticized for not being as accurate in its search as Google, but some fans have suggested that it's gotten much better and is, in some cases, either on-par with or even better than Google. That debate will live on, but Microsoft has built an important online services ecosystem around Bing.
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    Bing Serves Up Brief Bios of People You Search for by Name
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    Bing Serves Up Brief Bios of People You Search for by Name

    One interesting addition to Bing is the ability to learn about a person as you input his or her name. As users input a name, they'll get the standard suggestions to complete the query, but if Bing recognizes it as a name, it quickly displays a brief to the right of the drop-down box. The bio box comes in handy for folks who want to learn some pertinent facts about a person.
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    The Bing Rewards Program Aims to Get You Off Google
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    The Bing Rewards Program Aims to Get You Off Google

    Microsoft has a program, called Bing Rewards, that's designed to keep people searching through its service. As long as users keep using Bing, they'll earn points that can be redeemed for a wide array of rewards, including Amazon gift cards, movie rentals and even a subscription to Hulu Plus. The idea is to get people off Google and onto Bing by rewarding them for doing it. Image 3: Please use this image:
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    It's Always Handy on Windows Hardware
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    It's Always Handy on Windows Hardware

    Microsoft has done a fine job of bundling Bing into every major device the company and third-parties sell. If a device is running a Windows version of any sort, Bing is available not only for Web searching, but also as the backbone data searching on your devices. Bing is an important part of Microsoft's software-and-hardware ecosystem.
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    Bing Plays a Big Role on Windows 10
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    Bing Plays a Big Role on Windows 10

    Microsoft has already said that Bing will be a major player in Windows 10. The search platform will be accessible from within the operating system, allowing users not only to find what's on their computers, but to quickly discover topics on the Internet. If Windows 10 takes off, that could be a boon for Microsoft as it tries to compete with Google's dominant share in search. After all, if Bing is handy, why not use it?
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    Yes, It's Still in a Partnership With Yahoo
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    Yes, It's Still in a Partnership With Yahoo

    Although the companies recently modified the financial terms of their agreement, Yahoo and Microsoft are still in a partnership with Bing as the engine for Yahoo search. The companies share advertising revenue through their search services. Yahoo arguably has the better end of the deal—it gets more ad revenue and doesn't have to pay to continually improve a search engine—but it's helped Microsoft boost its search usage.
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    Microsoft Signs a Search, Advertising Deal With AOL
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    Microsoft Signs a Search, Advertising Deal With AOL

    On June 29, Microsoft announced it had signed a 10-year agreement with AOL in which Bing will drive AOL search and search advertising, starting Jan. 1, 2016. As part of the deal, AOL will take over the display, mobile and video advertising from Microsoft in nine international markets, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.K. In addition, AOL will handle ad inventory across Microsoft's online properties, including MSN, Outlook.com, Skype and Xbox. It will also cover ads that run within Microsoft apps.
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    Apple, Microsoft Form Search Partnership
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    Apple, Microsoft Form Search Partnership

    In an odd twist, Apple announced in 2013 that it would be dropping Google as its default search engine and instead use Bing across its iOS devices. The move was symbolic of Apple's growing rivalry with Google and its apparent belief that Microsoft poses less of a competitive challenge. Bing provides search results through Apple's Spotlight in both iOS and OS X. At the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year, Microsoft made no mention of changing strategies in upcoming operating systems. Look for Bing to be available in both iOS 9 and El Capitan.
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    Bing Supports a Useful Suite of Web Apps
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    Bing Supports a Useful Suite of Web Apps

    One of the nice things about Bing is that it comes with a wide range of applications that go above and beyond search. For instance, when a user goes to Bing, they'll find a list of the latest news items. Clicking "news" on the page will bring them to the top stories of the moment. Bing also includes a handy image search feature, the ability to comb the Web for videos and easy access to Microsoft's Office apps. Bing has a nice suite of apps.
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    It's the Backbone for Cortana
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    It's the Backbone for Cortana

    Microsoft's virtual personal assistant Cortana is a handy way for people to quickly access information. But in order to provide useful data, Cortana relies on Bing as an information source. So, when users ask Cortana for something that would require insight from the Internet, she's hitting up Bing to deliver the top results. Without Bing, Cortana wouldn't be Cortana.
 

Microsoft's Bing search and discovery platform is the source of much debate. Some who don't like the direction in which Google is going say that Bing is the search engine they prefer, especially since Microsoft has honed Bing's ability to deliver relevant results. Others, however, look at Bing as one of many products from Microsoft, which is still seen as the "Evil Empire" in some quarters and a search platform that's incapable of delivering the results that compare favorably with Google. Bing, introduced six years ago in 2009, is still a remarkably controversial product in Microsoft's lineup. But it's one that plays an important role in so many of the company's Internet services. That's because Bing is about more than simply searching the Internet. Bing is also taking on a new role now since it will power AOL's search and Web advertising, starting on Jan. 1, 2016. So it's a good time for eWEEK to examine the various things Bing does, its major features and how it's being incorporated into Microsoft's broader product line.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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