back to article Microsoft Bing is 10: That thing you accidentally use to search for Chrome? Still alive and kicking

Microsoft's don't-mention-the-G-word search engine, Bing, has just the candles blown out on its 10th birthday cake. Sadly, according to NetMarketShare, at the time of writing, that "10" might just as well apply to Bing's share of the desktop search market, squeezing into second place with 9.84 per cent ahead of Baidu's 9.53 …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Fashionable though it is to give Bing a bit of a kicking, I will acknowledge two things that it does well.

    1 - the picture of the day is usually stunning (I'm a big fan of National Geographic Photo Of The Day, so this sort of thing is right up my street)

    2 - Bing Maps in the UK offers 1:50K and 1:25K Ordnance Survey map layers which, being from OS, are rather excellent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the picture of the day is usually stunning

      I'm a big fan of stunning pictures. However, when searching for some sort of $TECHNICAL_DETAIL on the internet, I tend to find the stunning pictures an extremely irritating distraction (presumably because they force my brain into doing an unwanted context shift, or some such thing). I have at various times thought "sod google, I'm off to bing for a change", only to be driven away by the stunning picture distraction.

      YMMV, of course. If you like them, good for you.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      1: KDE Plasma has a Picture of the Day function which can use National Geographic images, Astronomy Picture of the Day, Wikimedia Picture of the Day etc. etc.

      2: streetmap.co.uk also has 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 OS mapping, as I'm sure do other services.

      Long time avoider of Bing and Google, or at least avoider of using them directly as I usually search using DuckDuckGo.

      M.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        One could always set a different picture of one's own choice, and other settings, as a wallpaper for each Virtual Desktop, then KDE borked that in an upgrade and has never managed to work out how to get back something so needed *.

        This widget, although admirable, is no substitute. Rarely are Upgrades an upgrade, more a demonstration of Dev Power.

        .

        .

        * Nothing to do with the faintly ludicrous 'Activities' which just seemed to do duplicate Virtual Desktops in a less happy way.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Never thought about different backgrounds for different virtual desktops, though I do have a different background set for each monitor. Not had a problem doing that ever since I discovered it (OpenSUSE user for about 10 years (11.something?)). I note that a different image per monitor output is something that Windows still cannot do.

          M.

          1. Diogenes Silver badge

            I note that a different image per monitor output is something that Windows still cannot do

            How odd. I am looking at a view of Burwood No 3 Colliery (Newcastle on Hunter) taken in from the west in 1896 on my left monitor, and a view taken 2 years later from the east on my right monitor.

            This even works when I have either of my 2 Surfaces attached to a 2nd monitor as well. I can't remember which incantation was used to achieve this, but it did not involve sacrificing a goat

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              I can't remember which incantation was used to achieve this, but it did not involve sacrificing a goat

              Well, if you remember, please let me know. It's a pain at work where I like to have the work logo (or the client's logo) as a desktop background on the laptops. You can guess the situation; either the laptop screen is 1920x1080 and the projector is 1024x768 or the laptop screen is 1366x768 and the projector is 1920x1200. A logo cannot be made which will look good on both screens at once because a: the same image is used for both and b: the same format (i.e. "scaled", "original", "tiled" etc.) is used for both.

              M.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Running Windows 10 here and have different images on each of my 3 monitors, one of which is a different resolution to the other two. Cant recall if this was possible on Windows 7, but it has been possible on 10 since day 1.

              2. rmason Silver badge

                @Martin an gof

                Right click on your desktop, personalisation, background.

                Set your pictures there, you can also specify one per monitor there. assuming you're allowed to do so on the system in question.

                https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-different-wallpaper-your-different-monitors-windows-10

                1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  Thanks for the hints. Most of the laptops are still W7 at work and I'm pretty certain it can't be done on those. I'll have a fiddle with the W10 laptop next time...

                  M.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Plus StreetMap puts North at North, using Bing OS maps give a slight feeling of dizzyness. But at least with Bing if I zoom out from the 1:50,000 map so that I can see more of the 1:50,000 map it does actually show me more of the 1:50,000 map instead of deciding, oh, no, you really want to see the 1:200,000 map and chuck away all the details I'm trying to use.

      3. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Meh

        DuckDuckGo

        I really like the concept of DuckDuckGo. And I occasionally use it. Often I will try it first. But the content just isn't there. Love, hate, or just grudgingly tolerate Google, when you need to find relevant results, it's still the search engine of choice, spying and advertising be damned. Sometimes it uncannily seems to read my mind when I type the first few characters of my search and it autocompletes what I'm looking for. When I want to find something relevant on Microsoft's Technet for example, I generally have much better results doing a fresh search with Google than using Bing, whether from outside or within Technet. I wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is.

        1. slartybartfast

          Re: DuckDuckGo

          I mainly use DuckDuckGo and occasionally Bing as DuckDuckGo doesn’t always give the best search results.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: DuckDuckGo

          Google search

          File, New Private Window, now search.

          Then type in your search and see all the results with your most important search word crossed out.

          Google is a bit crap compared to what it used to be.

    3. tony72

      I use Bing image search in addition to Google quite often these days*; Google has been determinedly dumbing down its search functionality for years, and while it will grudgingly still search for what you actually typed (once you jump through the hoops of selecting "verbatim" results or putting quotes around all your search terms) for a text search, image searches are much more of a crapshoot. I find it about 50/50 that I'll get a better result with Bing than Google quite often.

      *yes, even when not searching for porn, when Google's always-on nanny mode is an obstacle ... err, so I'm told.

    4. Martin Summers Silver badge

      I quite like Bing Maps Birds eye view. I'm amazed Google haven't nicked that idea yet.

    5. steviebuk Silver badge

      I dislike Bing as its results are mostly shit as irrelevant to what I asked. I do agree that sometimes their maps are better though. I'm sure they did the 3D view before Google Maps. At least I remember seeing it on Bing Maps round my area but was still only 2D in Google. And the 3D was real footage, unlike Googles which is sometimes generated.

      Also, on the way to Osterley, down windmill lane is the Sultan of Brunei's property. Which appears to be missing on street view yet appears on Bings version of street view.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Round my way (10 miles from a rural backwater called Cambridge) there's no 3D. The aerial photos are at least 6 years old too.

        Still, it's better than Google. Theirs are at least 10 years old.

        Which probably locates me pretty accurately if anyone cared enough...

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Maps

        The non OS mapping is pretty poor compare the Severn estuary between the two forms, one looks ridiculous, the other correct.

        Use this in links

        "&style=s"

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Fashionable though it is to give Bing a bit of a kicking, I will acknowledge two things that it does well.

      Unfortunately it doesn't do very well what it's supposed to, find things.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        It's a bit like comparing a small child and a butler.

        "Go get your homework"

        *butler heads off* : "Sir - I found these papers, but I also found a booklet about working from home."

        *child returns* : "I found a toy pony! And for some reason I've taken one leg out of my trousers!"

    7. MJI Silver badge

      Multimap

      As above OS mapping is excellent.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WinPhos got it as a lock screen image, too, which was a cute feature. Whole platform worked pretty well IME. Alas, panda ray, as the greeks say.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bing is also much better able to do an image search for "women without bikinis on"* or "cars without headlights". Google just picks some keywords and returns women in bikinis and a bunch of normal cars.

      *This was a test brought up in a previous Reg thread about AI putting bikinis on women's pictures.

  2. 0laf Silver badge
    Meh

    Plenty of people restricted to IE and Edge still use Bing. Plenty of others who never do anything with their Windows machines will use whaterver it comes with.

    I use Google same as most others. If I want to avoid the Google data mining tax I'll use Duck Duck Go. If you going to have your data mined you might as well get a good search out of it.

    1. Sven Coenye

      Bing is a Duck Duck Go source

      Welcome to the 34%

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Around 19 per cent of UK searches are performed using Bing (405 million monthly).

    Using that statistic you can probably get a reasonably accurate estimate of how many pensioners have bought PCs and searching using Bing through the Edge browser because they neither know nor care how to use anything else.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      my pa

      That would include my dad if somehow google chrome hadnt managed to installal horizontal search bar on his desktop.

      I find it highly distastefull when these fuckers abuse my old folks.

      Microsoft play the same games. My father "could not open solitaire" after a bit of investigation it turns out he was being shown sneaky game adverts by Microshaft in the prelude to opening solitaire for so long he figured his "pc was broken".

    2. downtrip

      You can fuck right off with your ageist stereotypes

      From a pensioner who doesn't use Bing... Or Edge (or Windows except in a rarely used VM)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Steady on there Grandad

    3. J 3
      Boffin

      "how many pensioners have bought PCs"

      For some reason I read that as "how many prisoners have bought PCs", and that sure led to a double take...

  4. Ol'Peculier

    Bing maps was good for the birds eye view, I don't know why it was removed from the UK but it was quite useful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps development was frozen

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Joke

        Look I know Microsoft's habit of dropping stuff without warning is annoying, but seriously - you've just got to let it go...

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      If you right click on the map you can still get it. Or at least you could when I last tried it a few weeks ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just tried it, and you are correct :-)

  5. Ben1892
    Windows

    Yes, amazing use of AI but it still doesn't know where I am...

    ...or find what I'm looking for. I do come back to see if things have improved every 6 months or so and most recently tried Ecosia (powered by Bing, set to UK Search region) as it's nice to think that trees are being planted while I search, but it's such a frustrating experience not finding the results I know exist ( like an article on the MS knowledge base) that I end up back at Google.

    Have Google got the patents sown up so much that nobody can make a decent search?

    1. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Yes, amazing use of AI but it still doesn't know where I am...

      It's the traffic. Google has a lot more data on what people click on, so it's easier for them to know what people are looking for.

      Bing is okayish in English, because they have a large enough market share to have data, but in other languages the quality reflects the low usage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, amazing use of AI but it still doesn't know where I am...

        "It's the traffic. Google has a lot more data on what people click on, so it's easier for them to know what people are looking for."

        Yes, but that's also the most irritating part of Google. If I'm looking for something that's likely to be obscure, it's hardly going to be the thing that everyone else is browsing to. It's a massive bloody hinderance. I stopped using Google long ago. Ok, Bing's no better, but I'm damned if I'm going to send money Google's way, the parasitic bastards.

  6. juice Silver badge

    I just did a clean Win10 install...

    So naturally, the first thing I did after the final reboot was to fire up Edge and type in "chrome".

    And while it dutifully popped up the link to download Chrome, it did also display a large banner to say "Edge is already installed and the best choice for Windows 10"[*]

    I couldn't decide whether it was aggressive (USE ME!) or pathetic (I'm here! I'm here! Pick me! Please!).

    Either way, Chrome is now installed and Edge is unpinned from the taskbar...

    [*] Or words to that effect, anyhow

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

      I couldn't decide whether it was aggressive (USE ME!) or pathetic (I'm here! I'm here! Pick me! Please!).

      No different than Google advertising Chrome in Google Search for non-Chrome browsers...

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

        A little different since Microsoft owns the Operating System, whilst Google owns merely a search engine you are, in contrast, free not to use.

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

          "... Google owns merely a search engine you are, in contrast, free not to use"

          And the market leader in spyware analytics that profile your use of the web, regardless of which search engine, browser and operating system you use.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

      Either way, Chrome is now installed...

      Sheeple. Chrome is a godawful piece of bloaty shite these days. Firefox has made notable improvements, and it's well worth a decent look. Chrome is simply a way in which Google can break the Internet but keep their stuff working and screw over everyone else.

      1. Snake

        Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

        Chrome is just a godawful piece of spyware bloaty shite these days. FTFY.

        However, saying that, and as a current Firefox user on both desktop and mobile, Firefox isn't a much better choice.

        Sadly.

        Firefox is still dog slow, the mobile version locks up and fails to page render whenever it feels like if you dare to zoom the view at some {undescribed} 'wrong' moment, and they still insist on shoving unanimous UI changes down user's throats completely regardless of any actual benefit to said users' experience.

        Someone PLEASE make an alternative browser that doesn't suck but still runs NoScript, plus a selection of the top-favorited plugins. The world will shower you in tickertape parades in NY and visits to the Queen.

      2. juice Silver badge

        Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

        > Sheeple. Chrome is a godawful piece of bloaty shite these days

        Oh noes! I'm just a slave to The Man: thank you for opening my eyes to The Truth!

        *cough*bollocks*cough*

        It's a browser. It works well enough for my personal use-cases, which include reasonably heavy use of Google Drive and the associated Calc/Doc/etc applications, the upload of videos to Youtube and the occasional image-dump up to my Facebook Street Art page.

        Oh, and I also run Firefox at the same time, so I can keep my work-related activities completely separate from my personal browser usage - this also simplifies things because some things can only be accessed via a proxy, and I don't really feel like routing all my personal traffic through work. Even if the raciest thing I tend to search for these days is information on late 90s video-games...

        So ner.

    3. slartybartfast

      Re: I just did a clean Win10 install...

      I’ve lost count of all the third party software I’ve installed that either recommends I install Chrome or cheekily has a tiny check box that can someone might not see and installs Chrome as well as the software I actually want. I double check now for the annoying check box. I don’t use Chrome and object to companies who are paid to try to get me to install it.

  7. johnnyblaze

    Anyone who uses Cortana in Win10 to search, will be using Bing. Microsoft baked it in this way to force searches against it's own engine, I guess in the vain attempt to improve it, get market share up and feed yet more data into it's AI backend. The truth is, very, very few conciously use Bing to search - Google have the search game wrapped up.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Used in 34% of American searches.

    That's sounds quite accurate, How many times do people search for "America"? Then 34% of them. Yes I did read the article but couldn't pass up on a Bing search joke which usually only two people get.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Used in 34% of American searches.

      Lots of people search for "America" every day: standing up straight, hands over heart, with patriotic tears flowing down their cheeks.

      1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        "Lots of people search for "America" every day: "

        DIdn't Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper go looking for it. I seem to recall it didn't end well...

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "Lots of people search for "America" every day: "

          Simon & Garfunkel certainly did…

  9. Mikel

    Bing Is Not Google

    I never get tired of that recursive backronym.

    Bing was Ballmer's attempt to "cut off Google's air supply" after Google poached some key engineers. You can read about that colorful discussion here on El Reg. Bing killed off nearly every other search provider, but never put a scratch on Google. When Microsoft finally surrenders after bleeding more money than the GDP of a small nation, Google will inherit the balance from sheer survival and not have the guilt of beating all those small fry to death.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Bing Is Not Google

      When Microsoft finally surrenders after bleeding more money than the GDP of a small nation, Google will inherit the balance from sheer survival and not have the guilt of beating all those small fry to death.

      The trouble with that outlook is that Microsoft are actually doing amazing well commercially, $trillion valuation and all that, and in many ways have a far more appealing offering in the round than Google do. Plus, Google are presently the focus of anti-trust actions in Europe and now, seemingly, in the US too, and Microsoft aren't. Google, being almost entirely a parasitic organisation (Facebook are even worse), don't have a real, large scale revenue stream. Microsoft do at least have real product to sell, in amongst the mix of ad revenue from a search engine. That's probably a healtier position to be in long term.

      MS's current passion for open source isn't doing their cause any harm either, right when Google are coming under a lot of pressure because of the closed source binary blobs that make up Google Play Services, etc.

      1. J 3
        Devil

        Re: Bing Is Not Google

        Hey, Google also has a real product to sell, and so it does! That product is YOU. Well, the users, not you specifically, in case you do not use anything Google-powered.

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      In an alternative future...

      Someone picks Blekko out of the "free for the taking" box at IBM's liquidation and somehow, this time, it survives attempts to Borg it and complaints that it is "not like Google" with accompanying complaints about Google.

  10. James Anderson Silver badge

    "suction botherer"

    Shirly that should be "Carpet Botherer" as his air flows are definately "Not Bovvered"

  11. Milton Silver badge

    Never Bing

    I use DuckDuckGo as an antidote to Google spyware and (a) yes, I know that DDG takes feeds from other engines, (b) yes, I also know that it has stubbornly adhered to a witlessly stupid name and logo, which actually drive away interest and potential users because people assume it's just some trivial, cutesy silliness, and (c) sometimes DDG is over-thinking things and I have to prefix '!G' to get the more varied and toothsome goodies.

    But as a DDG user first and reluctant Googler about eighth, I am a Bing-er never. Because no one and nothing has ever answered the questions "Why should I bother?" or "What can Bing do better?"

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Never Bing

      "What can Bing do better?"

      I thought like that and now I am 99% Bing with the occasional accidental google. For a while I ran both. Nothing like doing a search twice but rather use google for a while, use bing for a while, I threw a couple of others like DDG into the mix. What I found was that google and others dropped off and Bing just became the default. Why? I really don't know - something preferred it - I can't measure it or justify it. But it just seemed "better". Do what I did. You may be surprised.

    2. Grikath

      Re: Never Bing

      Surprisingly enough, translations...

      Something with manuals in funny languages that aren't english ( or such bad Singrish as to be useless).

      If Google and Bing ( plus backups) agree on the gist of whatever I input, in english, dutch and german ( better be sure, some of the stuff is 'spensive...) , you can be reasonably sure you have something you can use.

      Gaming has taught me the reverse works as well... I haven't caused WW III as yet...

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    When I first installed Mint 18 Firefox was set to search through Yahoo and so I got results from Bing. But I found a lot of the results were poor and had to keep manually opening Google and searching to find what I wanted. So in the end I changed the default search on FF to Google.

    I also find the name 'Bing' to just sound stupid. Much like the word 'Brexit' and 'texted'

  13. Roger B

    I use it for a few reasons, I like the image of the day, I am gathering the Bing Rewards points, up to about £100 so far and as I already have a Microsoft account, its pretty easy to go into my privacy settings every once in a while and clear out my search and browsing history, if I have to use anything google related, which would be for an occasional image search, the drag and drop from a website or my pc is pretty easy, or youtube, then I do all that in private mode.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bing is best, if you are searching for porn

    If you are searching for technical resources than Bing is an exercise in frustration. However, if you want to relieve those frustrations then going into video search, turning off SafeSearch, and entering in just about any conceivable term that could be construed to be sexual will give a screen full of NSFW thumbnails that will helpfully turn into video previews as soon as you hover over them.

    And if you REALLY want to get someone fired, enter a search term for a sex act that is illegal in your jurisdiction and save the resulting page as their homepage

    Anonymous, well, because they never did figure out whom to blame....

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Functional equivalence is not enough…

    … to get people to change their habits. Being as good as Google was never going to be good enough and Microsoft never got that far. So even those people who tried Bing, either wittingly or not, went back to using Google. It's damn hard to beat Google at their own game, because the magic they use for searches is what underpins their advertising, so they have an incredible incentive to be the best.

    You'd have thought all the MBAs at MS would have thumbed through their copies of The Art of War to look for other tactics, such as what does Google not provide or not do well. Eventually they seem to have found that they had it all along: MS Office. Okay, Cortana actually has some very nice technology but Amazon worked out that people wanted voice control but didn't want to have to pick up their phone or shout at their computers to use it.

  16. Jim-234

    Bing still pays you if you use it.

    You can get about $5 to $10 in Amazon gift cards (or other options for similar value), per month using Bing, or more if you happen to be trying a bit harder.

    Too bad their search results aren't quite as good as the top dog.

    Still it's good to have at least one other well funded search engine besides Google, just so you know Google doesn't think they own the web completely.

  17. J 3
    Paris Hilton

    I had forgotten...

    Thanks for reminding me Bing does (still) exist! Maybe I'll try it again one of these days. Ironic to say this here, but a monoculture is never a good idea.

  18. Diogenes Silver badge

    Bing user here & so are my students (but they don't realise it)

    No not pathetic, but Bing is baked into MS word 'Research' tab and 'insert online images' . I encourage my students to use these from within word/ppt etc as it adds the citation when they do the inevitable cut and paste, and the pikkies are all creative commons & also bring in the citations.

    Its not very often that I 'goggle' anything, except to use the 'reverse picture' search.

  19. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Doesn't matter anymore.

    Now that Google is just as evil as Microsoft, it doesn't matter anymore whether Bing makes gains at Google's expense.

    Anyone who *really* cares, has already switched to DuckDuckGo.

  20. Nate Amsden

    been using bing for about 18 months

    For web search at least, wanted to see what it was like. Haven't missed google at all. I have never, not even once gone back to google if I couldn't find something on bing. I tried duck duck go for a short while, but as I am not a fan of amazon cloud once I found out they were all amazon based (their shopping results were a big hint I suppose) I immediately stopped using it(and have since read that duck duck go uses bing for search anyway?). Would rather give my data to google. Though bing is fine. I do still use google maps, bing maps is completely unsable for me on Linux on pale moon browser anyway (can click on a business name and something appears in the side bar then goes away, just doesn't render at all, tried more than a half dozen times).

    I'm sure there were probably a bunch of times when I could of found something faster on google than on bing I don't know. Or maybe my search terms are basic enough that it doesn't matter.

    I use firefox on mobile and switched that to bing probably about a year ago, was too lazy to change it for a while.

    I remember I switched to google from altavista I believe it was back when altavista first started showing banner ads. I remember emailing altavista or providing feedback or something saying I switched due to the banner ads, they replied and apologized or something.

    1. hopkinse

      Re: been using bing for about 18 months

      Altavista - another fine example of the pitfalls of unending quest for growth by expanding outside your core competency and trying to be everything for everybody. It was my friend for years until they screwed it and google came along.

  21. Danny 5

    Not that bad

    Bing isn't that bad, I use it every now and then. Bing does give different results from Google, so when I'm not getting the results I want from Google, I tend to turn to Bing.

  22. slartybartfast

    Pinterest can f*** right off!

    Whatever search engine is used, what is most annoying when doing image searches is the sheer number of images that are linked to that irritating site Pinterest. Pinterest simply attaches images from other sites to its own and denies you access to the original site unless you subscribe to Pinterest. So many image searches have many images linked to that horrid site. Why is that abomination allowed to dominate image searches like this?

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