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Bing Search Engine

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The history of the BING search engine (now called Windows Live Search) is not quite as interesting as Yahoo’s and Google’s history because Microsoft was already an established corporation and technology giant by the time of “BING’s” inception. BING is simply an acronym for Microsoft Network, but the term ‘BING’ is mostly used to identify either the BING search engine or the very popular BING Messenger (now called Windows Live Messenger).

Originally, BING.com was not a search engine or web portal. It was first designed as a content viewer in Windows 95 and was developed by a group headed by Nathan Myhrvold. The content viewer was ahead of its time and required computer performance that was greater than the average PC. As a result, the BING Program Viewer idea including the semi-popular ‘BING Shows’ was dropped.

In 1999, Microsoft revamped the domain www.Bing.com into the web portal it is today. All Windows installations default Internet Explorer to this page. As a result, the BING search engine became popular in a short period, allowing BING to market other services such as Hotmail and BING Messenger and consequently, their new ‘Windows Live’ brands including Windows Live Search.  Although BING is ranked fifth overall for traffic rank in November 2007 (figure from Alexa.com), they do not carry much weight in searches, maintaining approximately 9% of the market.

In 2006, Microsoft launched AdCenter, which is comparable to Panama and AdWords. Some notable differences in AdCenter are its limited search distribution and limited search ad syndication, resulting in smaller campaigns but more relevant, quality traffic.  Microsoft is investing in this service through acquiring aQuantive Inc. – a global digital marketing and advertising solution company – for $6 billion.

In 2007, BING started rebranding their services with the Windows Live image. The BING search engine was transitioned to the Windows Live Search engine.

BING.com maintains huge traffic ratings and continues to increase its traffic by offering additional services in over 26 languages. Current popular services mirror those of Google and Yahoo! – Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Search (formerly BING Search), and Windows Live Maps.

Broadly speaking, SEO Companies do not use results in BING Search as a basis for their underlying SEO strategic decisions. This is not only because of the low 9% hold on the market, but because BING search results seem to be much less relevant than Google or even Yahoo!. When searching on the BING search engine, one can find pages that are completely unrelated or sites that no longer exist. This lack of accuracy became very apparent in 2006. Some have speculated that the BING search engine is being overhauled and thus the reason for its shaky ranking system.

With Microsoft’s forced push of IE7 in Windows Vista, their new Windows Live Search and desktop searching tools combined with securing themselves in China (a huge market potential despite government imposed censorship and human rights issues).  It is important not to count BING Search out – they may yet achieve majority market share status in the very near future.



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