Taken out by a combination of inopportune Windows auto-updates and infinite recursion trying to upload telemetry data to itself.
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. …
Tuesday 15th August 2017 19:55 GMT Dave 126
"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
Tuesday 15th August 2017 21:19 GMT Justin Clift
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. ;)
Wednesday 16th August 2017 01:18 GMT ShelLuser
"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).
Wednesday 16th August 2017 03:10 GMT Adam 1
Wednesday 16th August 2017 10:50 GMT Justin Clift
> 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.
Tuesday 15th August 2017 21:20 GMT Uffish
Wednesday 16th August 2017 08:53 GMT Anonymous Coward
Wednesday 16th August 2017 10:30 GMT Anonymous Coward
Wednesday 16th August 2017 14:25 GMT 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.
Tuesday 15th August 2017 22:29 GMT Anonymous Coward
Tuesday 15th August 2017 22:31 GMT Oh Homer
"DuckDuckGo ... aggregates results from [Bing]"
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.
Wednesday 16th August 2017 02:32 GMT Anonymous Coward
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.
Wednesday 16th August 2017 00:32 GMT gerdesj
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.
(*) 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?
Wednesday 16th August 2017 02:28 GMT Tim Seventh
Wednesday 16th August 2017 08:56 GMT Anonymous Coward
Wednesday 16th August 2017 13:44 GMT paulf
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?
Wednesday 16th August 2017 07:45 GMT ratfox
Wednesday 16th August 2017 13:05 GMT handleoclast
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.
Wednesday 16th August 2017 17:19 GMT Florida1920
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.