The Tech News Blog

November 27, 2014

Report: Yahoo, Bing Vie to Replace Google on Safari

Safari Tips

The term "Google" has become synonymous with search, but Apple users may soon have to readjust and "Yahoo" or "Bing" a query.

While Google serves as the Safari browser's default search engine, the companies' agreement is reportedly set to expire next year, making way for Cupertino to choose a new partner.

And according to The Information (via Ars Technica), Microsoft (maker of Bing) and Yahoo are already in talks with Apple Internet Software and Services Senior Vice President Eddy Cue.

Upstart engine DuckDuckGo is also reportedly on the short list.

Yahoo recently announced that it will replace Google as Mozilla's default search engine for Firefox. And CEO Marissa Mayer has made it clear in the past that she wants to usurp Google as Apple's iOS search default.

Google declined to comment on the reports; Yahoo, Microsoft, and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

September 17, 2013

Microsoft Revamps Bing, Unveils New Logo

New Bing Logo

Microsoft's Bing is thinking outside the search box with a revamped experience focused on simplicity and speed.

Boasting a new interface and features like Snapshot, Page Zero, and Pole Position, as well as more mobile and PC options, the modern aims to be more than just another search engine.

"Since Bing's launch, we've talked about doinginstead of searching, and how the Web has changed from a collection of documents to a constantly growing digital version of life as we know it," Lawrence Ripsher, general manager of user experiences at Bing, said in a blog post.

"As the same time," he continued, "the devices and scenarios through which people experience the Web are morphing at an accelerating rate. We no longer think about search as simply a box that people type into."

Instead, search has become an immersive, social experience, boosted by Bing's updates.

2012 Bing makeover included the introduction of the Snapshot and Sidebar features, which provide personal and professional details for all queries. For example, search for "Highway 1," and Bing displays factual data about the route (length, date formed, related places) and human perspective (status updates, photos, tweets, check-ins).

August 21, 2013

Ad-Free Bing for Schools Launched With Surface RT Giveaway

Bing Photos Now Downloadable as Full Screen Wallpaper

Microsoft is making a push for education with today's official launch of Bing for Schools, a new initiative to increase digital literacy by putting technology — specifically the Surface RT tablet — in classrooms.

Redmond previewed the back-to-school teaching aid in June, touting its ad-free search results, enhanced privacy protections, adult-content filters, and enhanced specialized learning capabilities.

Now that the pilot program is kicking off, the company has recruited schools from across the country — including Los Angeles Unified School District, Atlanta Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, and Detroit Country Day School, among others — to bring the Bing experience to more than 800,000 students.

"We already know that search is an important tool for kids in school," Bing behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert wrote in a blog post. He pointed to a recent Pew Research Center poll, which reported that more than 90 percent of educators believe the Web has a "major impact" on their ability to teach.

For those school districts facing budget cuts, meanwhile, Microsoft will turn Bing Rewards into Surface RT tablets.

Bing Rewards allows any Web user to earn credits, simply for surfing the Web. Those credits can then be redeemed for gift cards and other items, but can also be donated to projects like Bing for Schools.

August 7, 2013

Bing App Collection Launches on Windows Phone 8

Bing News Windows Phone 8

Following last fall's launch of a collection of Bing Apps for Windows 8, the search giant is rolling out the same options for mobile users.

News, Finance, Weather, and Sports are now available for Windows Phone users around the world (features and content may vary by country).

"The apps provide you with gorgeous, comprehensive, and customizable experiences powered by Bing that showcase world-class content from leading outlets," Steve Chang, Bing principal program manager lead, said in a blog post.

Each app comes with its own special features, beginning with News, which provides users with the latest headlines and videos of breaking news, as well as customizable story categories, topics, and sources to choose what matters most to you.

Microsoft-powered Bing has partnered with the Associated Press, Reuters, Gizmodo, The Guardian, and other local and regional media outlets to bring a world of news options to everyone. Plus, Windows Phone's Live Tiles option turns stories into easily accessible at-a-glance tidbits.

June 26, 2013

Microsoft Doubles Down With Bing for Windows 8.1

Bing in Windows 8.1

Microsoft has spent the past several months telling anyone who will listen that Bing is not just competitive with Google's flagship search engine, it's a better product, hands down.

Man-in-the-street "taste test" ads are nice for the public at large, but the software giant doubled down on Bing at its annual Build developer conference here on Wednesday in a way its developer ecosystem—not to mention big, bad Google—will likely find far more intriguing.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other executives outlined a couple of important Bing developments in an opening keynote headlined by the introduction of Windows 8.1 Preview and built around the company's new commitment to push out updates to its software platforms faster than ever before.

Bing, no longer a shot-in-the-dark stab at Google's search dominance, is set to play a big role in the latest version of Windows and Microsoft's overall platform strategy, they said.

Microsoft's search technology is built directly into Windows 8.1, also known as Blue, more tightly than in Windows 8, Ballmer said. That Bing-ification will be extended to the company's other major platforms, including Windows Phone and the Xbox, he promised.

That means that more of Bing's capabilities, from a new 3D-mapping technology to app discovery to natural user interface (NUI) controls and analytics, will become intrinsically tied to the user experience in Microsoft products, said Microsoft's corporate vice president for Bing, Gurdeep Singh Pall, who demoed a few Bing-powered features in Windows 8.1 during the keynote.

May 10, 2013

Comment on Facebook Directly From Bing

Bing Facebook Commenting

Bing is about to get a little more social.

Microsoft on Friday announced that it has more tightly integrated its search engine with Facebook to let users interact with friends' posts directly from the right-hand social sidebar. Launched last year, the Bing social sidebar displays content from Facebook and Twitter that is relevant to a user's query.

Thanks to the new integration, users who have connected their Facebook accounts to Bing will now be able to comment and like friends' relevant status updates directly from the search page.

The new feature works like this: If you're searching Bing for concert tickets, for instance, you might see a post from a Facebook friend saying that they are going to the show. Without leaving the Bing search results page, you'll be able to comment directly on that person's post saying you're thinking of going as well.

"If you're like us, it's hard to keep up with what friends are posting on an ongoing basis, and harder still to search and find specific topics that your friends may have posted about," Bing program manager Nektarios Ioannides wrote in a blog post Friday. "By bringing together Bing and Facebook, you have an easy way to complement your search with helpful, interesting or insightful content your friends have shared."

November 27, 2012

Apple Products Dominate 2012 Bing Searches

iPhone 5S rumor

As the nation reflects on the year that was, search engine Bing has revealed the most-searched terms of 2012, and Apple remains on top.

Among the top 10 consumer electronics Binged this year, Cupertino's products made up half the list thanks to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

Samsung and Amazon are not to be overlooked, though, as the Galaxy S III and the Kindle filled out the top five; Microsoft's Xbox and Windows 8, as well as the Sony PlayStation 3, also made the list.

"People's fascination with the latest smartphones, tablets and game consoles remains unfettered in 2012," the Bing team wrote in a blog post detailing all of its Top Searches of 2012 categories, including sports stars, Olympians, news stories, and fashion.

Mass hysteria about the iPhone 5 reached beyond the sidewalks outside of Apple Stores this fall. The sixth-generation smartphone was the most-searched gadget this year, as well as the No. 1 news item. The device beat out the 2012 Election, Hurricane Sandy, and even the Gangnam style dance to become the most popular search term of the past 12 months.

Behind the 2012 Olympics and the Academy Awards, the Kindle Fire HD and the much-maligned Facebook IPO also fell into the top 10 news items.

August 16, 2012

Bing Gets Gussied Up for Windows 8 Integration

Bing (May 2012)

Microsoft has has optimized its Bing search engine for the upcoming release of its Windows 8 operating system.

Bing has been completely reimagined for a new user experience on Windows 8, which was released to developers yesterday.

Microsoft modeled the Bing updates on the modern design principles of Windows 8, adding features like autosuggest and tap-and-swipe navigation through a horizontal list of search results. By adding smart captions and image previews, Microsoft hopes that searchers will find it easier to get quick answers.

Not everything about Bing will change, though. Its homepage and hover points will remain, as will the collage-like image search returns. A quick tap or click on any of the photos sends the user into full-screen preview mode.

The new Snap feature allows the user to throw the Bing window onto the side of the screen, placing it side-by-side with your chosen Internet browser, allowing you to continue searching without ever leaving Bing.

Six Bing-powered apps are already integrated into Windows 8, so if your query falls into the maps, weather, news, finance, sports, or travel categories, the apps provide added access to that information.

The app will be available for PCs and tablets running Windows 8 on Oct. 26, the official launch date of Windows 8.

July 19, 2012

Google, Bing Maps Upgrades Add Detail, High-Def Photos

Bing Bird Microsoft-owned search engine Bing this week unwrapped its newest Bird's Eye imagery views of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Tokyo, as well as more U.S. locations. Meanwhile, areas of Europe, Africa, and Asia got a Google Maps facelift today, providing more geographical detail for locals and tourists alike.

Bing's 215TB of new data brings the project's total coverage to 230.004 square kilometers and includes Tokyo Disneyland, Niagara Falls, the Swedish Parliament (pictured), and San Lucido and Isola di Dino in Italy.

Bird's Eye brings high-definition, detailed aerial photos to users through the Oblique Mosaics format, which merges photos together to form one image layer, according to the Bing blog. About 84,450 square kilometers of Bing's newest release is brand-new imagery; the other 145,550 is a "refreshed" view that replaces previous layers.

If you're looking for a more personal mapping experience, Google Maps released new images of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, Macau, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, and Vatican City with more precise details.

Additionally, major points of interest have been updated with more accurate names and locations, including airports, universities, and public areas, according to Google's blog.

Google previously integrated various forms of transportation into its online and mobile maps, but today it took travel to a new level, adding more clearly labeled ferry routes in areas like Naples, Italy.

"Today's improvements […] are part of our ongoing effort to build maps that are comprehensive, accurate and easy to use," Google Maps engineering manager Michael Weiss-Malik wrote on the company blog.

Earlier this week, the search juggernaut introduced panoramic images of Antarctica to its World Wonders Project, building the site's library of 360-degree views, which also includes landmarks in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.

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June 25, 2012

Bing Maps Gets 165TB of New Imagery

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, Bing Maps

In a month full of online map announcements, Microsoft is jumping into the game by adding 165TB of new imagery to Bing Maps.

The data dump is the "largest satellite release to date" for Bing, Microsoft said in a blog post. "In fact, this release is larger than all of our past Aerial releases combined!"

Bing's new release features imagery over North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Asia – almost 38 million square kilometers.

Today's update includes aerial images taken by satellites or aircraft, as well as Global Ortho photography.

This month, Bing Imagery Technologies finished capturing 100 percent of aerial photography over the U.S., and is expected to complete photography over Europe this fall. All updated imagery should be published by the end of the year, Microsoft said.

Bings Maps

When Microsoft-owned Bing launched its Global Ortho Project one year ago, the search engine team acknowledged the challenge for consumers and organizations using Web-mapping services: "Much of the magery featured there has historically been patchwork of satellite and aerial imagery of different vintage, quality, clarity, and detail," Microsoft said in June 2011.

Users' experience was inconsistent at best, the team wrote.

With today's unveiling, a refresh cycle will update previously collected imgages, focusing on those areas that are more likely subject to change, Bing said.