www.herald-journal.com
Microsoft launches the 'Bing' search engine

June 8, 2009

by Mark Ollig

One of the things common among us baby boomers is whenever we hear the word, “Bing” we sometimes think of the famous crooner from our parent’s generation.

Yes, the mellow-voiced “ba-ba-ba” Bing Crosby could sing with the best of them.

The “Bing” I am referring to in today’s column, however, is what Microsoft – in their infinite wisdom – decided to call their new search engine.

According to Microsoft, this new search engine “finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions.”

How many search engines tell us that?

The Bing search engine includes the basic search features such as finding general web information, news content, images, videos, and maps.

So, now the question in my mind is whether we will start to “Bing it” as much as we “Google it.”

Out of curiosity, I did a search for “Bing search” in Google. I was presented with 13,900,000 results.

When I search in Bing for “Google search” I was given 173,000,000 results.

After having skeptically used Bing, I was surprised on how well-organized the general search results were presented. I think my readers should give it try.

Bing’s search results were somewhat easier to decipher than in Google’s.

You can keep up with the latest news about Bing on Twitter by following “Bing.”

For those of us who are on Facebook, you can be a fan of the Facebook user “Bing,” also.

Remember the startup search engine called “Cuil” (pronounced “cool”) which was claimed to be a next-generation search site?

Cuil declared its search index held three times as many pages as Google, while requiring far fewer computer servers.

Today, Google holds a reported 40 billion pages of information.

The Internet itself holds roughly 140 billion pages.

Cuil’s web site now says it can search through about 124 billion, 426 million, 951 thousand, and 803 (124,426,951,803) web pages.

Cuil, by the way, is an old Irish word meaning “knowledge.”

The WolframAlpha computational engine has continued to make improvements since I wrote about it a few weeks ago. WolframAlpha is not your average search engine. It is actually more of a computational engine using Mathematica.

According to the WolframAlpha site, mathematica is “. . . an all-in-one computation and visualization system, development environment, and deployment engine. It is used across diverse technical fields, including engineering, science, and financial analysis.”

I am still a strong supporter of this “knowledge-based computing” schema incorporated within WolframAlpha’s programming and algorithms.

WolframAlpha is the first step in an ambitious, long-term development to make all systematic or organized knowledge immediately computable by anyone. Any user can enter a question or calculation, and WolframAlpha will use its built-in algorithms and a growing collection of data to compute the answer.

The WolframAlpha web site has made many functional improvements and enhancements since you read my last column about it.

Can you tell I am still excited about WolframAlpha?

WolframAlpha is located at http://www.wolframalpha.com. I also have video and more information about it online at the “Web Site of The Week for May 18, 2009.”

Getting back to Bing, I found out there is some controversy with its handling of video search results.

When a user is presented with a list of videos as a result of searching via Bing, the results page will instantly begin to play any of the videos when the user moves their mouse and hovers over a video thumb-nail clip with the cursor.

This is controversial, because users of Bing will be able to see limited previews of video clips without visiting the actual web site hosting the video. As a result, the user will not be viewing all the associated advertising from the hosting web site which means less advertising revenue.

According to the Financial Times, Microsoft’s Bing search service seems to be testing new legal limits in its presentation of video clips over the Internet.

This week’s “Web Site of The Week” will feature a few videos, pictures, and details about Microsoft’s new Bing search engine, so be sure to stop by and check it out.

You can find Microsoft’s new Bing search engine at http://www.bing.com.

In case you are interested, the Bing Crosby web site is located at http://www.bingcrosby.com.