back to article Outage outed: Bing dinged, Microsoft portal mortal, DuckDuckGo becomes DuckDuckNo

Microsoft's Bing fell over on Tuesday morning, Pacific Time, causing a ripple effect that crippled other search engines. Visitors to Bing were hit with HTTP 503 error messages. We note that, while Bing appears to be working again as we write this, it's feeling a little slow. (Reg readers also dropped us tips that status.bing. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taken out by a combination of inopportune Windows auto-updates and infinite recursion trying to upload telemetry data to itself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Taken out by a combination of inopportune Windows auto-updates and infinite recursion trying to upload telemetry data to itself."

      Oh how tedious !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    "CMOS" as a sample test query?

    Each to their own, I guess. I always use "Cats" to test if my browser can access the internet... maybe there is some psychological reason that we both use four* character strings beginning with the letter C. I can think of another, but that's more if a test of whether Safe Search is turned on.

    * Like an ATM PIN

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

      I always use "Soapy Frogs"

      1. handleoclast Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

        I used to use "golden showers."

        I like climbing roses.

        These days it just gives me stuff about some guy called Trump. I'll have to find some other test phrase to use.

    2. Michael Kean

      Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

      Hehe. I use "Cows" - nobody is ever offended by cows.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

        I'd rather be as offensive as possible in a test query to throw the tracking off and maybe 'swat' myself.

        #1 search result in google was a "bad words data file" heh

    3. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

      I always use a phrase that is sure to be on my browser cache.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

        I always use the keyword test.

        <_<

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "CMOS" as a sample test query?

      I always use "Cats" to test

      I tried that. But they just looked at me with even more disdain than usual and wandered off to torment small furry animals[1].

      [1] The dog - not the Floyd album..

  3. Justin Clift

    Meh

    Meh, I stopped using DuckDuckGo and started using StartPage instead, when DuckDuckGo started ramming "reminders" into their page real estate for "how to increase privacy"...

    ... which were cookie based (!), so if a person's browser is set to Not store cookies then the reminder shows up Every Single Time.

    Of course, the workaround would be to allow DuckDuckGo to set cookies. Er... which allows them to track people. Er... and they're doing this to increase people's privacy?!?!?

    Something doesn't seem right there any more. ;)

    1. ShelLuser

      @Justin

      "Meh, I stopped using DuckDuckGo and started using StartPage instead, when DuckDuckGo started ramming "reminders" into their page real estate for "how to increase privacy"...

      You definitely have a point but it's false to assume that every cookie placed in your browser can also be used to track you.

      In this case DuckDuckGo clearly states that they advice you to use https://start.duckduckgo.com/ to avoid the issues of those reminders. You're right of course: when visiting that page it'll leave 4 cookies behind (ak, al, ao and aq on my end). However, all of which contain -1, and are set to expire somewhere in 2025. I checked and they don't get updated or anything.

      So yeah, they're using cookies but not the likes which can actually track you. At best sites can find out that you used DuckDuck somewhere in the past, but that's all there is to it. A form of tracking for sure, but not the kind I'd be worried about (for now).

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: @Justin

        > At best sites can find out that you used DuckDuck somewhere in the past

        Shirley it is just DuckDuckGo that can read that cookie (save some XSS bug obviously).

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @Justin

          Last night my wife nearly flummoxed me when she complained that she was forced to allow biscuits onto her PC in order to access the email.

          She does make me laugh :)

      2. Justin Clift

        Re: @Justin

        > In this case DuckDuckGo clearly states that they advice you to use https://start.duckduckgo.com/ to avoid the issues of those reminders.

        Well, I didn't see any such "clearly stated" thing (at the time I got sick of the crap). URL wise, I use whichever URL was built into the "DuckDuckGo" search extension in the browser.

        Could I open up the extension and change the URL? Sure. No idea if future updates would change it back though.

        In reality, switching to a different search engine that also bills themselves as not tracking users - and hasn't yet pulled any user hostile behaviour unlike DDG as mentioned - was simple.

  4. Uffish

    Other search engines are available

    I use Qwant at the moment, anyone got a good list of others?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other search engines are available

      As mentioned earlier. Startpage.

      Google without Google tracking.

      1. Uffish

        Re: Startpage

        Yeah, I use that too and the slight extra dusting of Dutch sites that turn up is nice but that's Google being Google I suppose.

        I have a soft spot for Qwant because way back when I had just found it I think I helped it find the true meaning of "el Reg" as a search term.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other search engines are available

      yandex.ru

      baidu.cn

      astalavista.box.sk

      1. Uffish

        Re: Other search engines are available

        Thanks for the suggestions.

        Started with Astalavista.box.sk because it reminded me of Altavista - it has a dark green and black colour scheme and says it focusses on security related sites, which I don't.

        Next tried yandex. Looks competent and interesting but all in Russian and I couldn't find a little flag icon or whatever to see if it would change to English.

        Didn't try baidu because I have come across it before and had the same language problem as yandex, except in Chinese.

        So nothing worked out of the box, but that is not a criticism of the sites, it's because I need mollycoddling, Will try again though.

        Startpage is good, Qwant is good.

        Where is the UK in respect of search engines? Stuck in the mud and dreaming of the empire, that's where.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    switching to Google

    Searching for "Bing outage" with Bing produced no useful results. Searching with Google produced 436k results in 0.45 seconds. I'm switching to Google.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: switching to Google

      Enjoy the censorship.

  6. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "DuckDuckGo ... aggregates results from [Bing]"

    Really?

    Damn. I guess I should've paid more attention.

    Aren't there any truly independent (and preferably non-US based but still in English) search engines anywhere?

    The closest thing I found was basically a self-hosted solution called YaCy, but it's the dreaded Java and a massively bloated pig of a thing, or at least was the last time I tried it. You basically need a dedicated server to run it effectively, and its search results are extremely limited, as you might imagine.

    Nice idea, though, and I'm a big fan of self-hosted alternatives to our corporate overlords in general.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: YaCy

      Yes, it's the right idea, spreading the load across everyone's self-hosted installation. Unfortunately, like nearly all open source search systems, it uses the Java-based Apache Lucene engine. The only major alternative engine is Xapian (C++) which is something of an also-ran, but is notably used by Fastmail.

      1. Richard Lloyd

        Re: YaCy

        Not sure why anyone would use the Java-based Lucene, when Lucene++ - a port to C++ - has been around since 2010:

        https://github.com/luceneplusplus/LucenePlusPlus

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: YaCy

          Lucene++ is an "up to date" port of Lucene 3 to C++.

          Which is all well and good, but we're using Lucene 7 now..

  7. gerdesj Silver badge
    Devil

    If only ...

    If only Bing (**) realized (*) that an image infested homepage is anathema to IT nerds who spend a lot of time on the end of an RDP session. Now, who do you think sets the home page policies for a huge number of people?

    Bing: if you are serious in becoming a contender then realize that less is more. Google got it years ago. When you want to search for something, you want absolutely no distractions. To piss off someone who influences a lot of people, do not design your page to take ages to load across a wanky (***) link.

    Cheers

    Jon

    (*) meh - I'm happy to use z in realized, despite speaking en_GB - piss off Google spell checker

    (**) Bing is also OK - piss off Google

    (***) wanky - do I really have to spell it out?

    1. eldakka Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: If only ...

      (***) wanky - do I really have to spell it out?

      Since this is a written form of communication, then spelling it out is, really, compulsory, which you did - w, a, n, k, y.

  8. Tim Seventh

    Duckduckgo for Google?

    no way. El Reg should add startpage.com to their recommendation. It's based on google similar to duckduckgo based on bing which both create some privacy.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Duckduckgo for Google?

      Thanks for that - just added.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Duckduckgo for Google?

      And it's less far US orientated than DuckDuckGo....but I do get a lot of results from the Netherlands and Germany oddly.

      1. paulf Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Duckduckgo for Google?

        That's a frustrating aspect of DDG that pushes me back to Google UK all too often. Even with the UK localisation set on DDG it still throws up a load of US results when I search for things in the UK: I may find what I want in result 10+ with DDG whereas G! UK returns what I'm after as result 1 or 2. I guess they are dependent on the results from Y! and Bing and these are letting them down?

  9. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Is StatCounter reliable?

    They show Google has an improbable lead on their rivals in South Korea and Japan, while everybody else says Naver is king in SK, followed by Daum, and Google a distant third. And Yahoo is generally shown as first in Japan.

  10. handleoclast Silver badge
    FAIL

    Multiple redundancy

    I thought it was very clever of duckduckgo to use multiple redundancy in the search engines it scrapes. So if bing (stupid fucking name) goes down there's still Yawhat? search.

    It's a shame that nobody told duckduckgo that Yawhat? dropped its own in-house search engine years ago and put a white label on top of bing (still a stupid fucking name). So if bing (it really is a stupid fucking name) goes down, Yawhat? goes down too.

    Still, bing, despite being a very fucking stupid name, is at least more sensible than fuckfuckwent.

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: Multiple redundancy

      Other than that, how did your latest search, er, go?

      While searching the subject I found http://bingiton.com/, where you can do side-by-side comparisons of stupid fucking name and Google. I did not duck the chance to take the challenge. Guess what? Google won. Hope that doesn't ruffle MS's feathers.

  11. Seanmon

    "Bing dinged"

    How did anyone actually notice?

  12. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: "How did anyone actually notice?"

    Microsoft employ a Certified Bing Ding Engineer to report directly to the only other person who actually uses it: another Bing Engineer who sits next to him in their shared cubicle.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. David Nash Silver badge

    Recommendation?

    "El Reg should add startpage.com to their recommendation"

    and

    "Just added"

    Their recommendation? Is there one? Where can I see it?

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