While it hasn’t yet become a verb, Bing (www.bing.com) is steadily gaining popularity in Internet search by doing things differently.
Admit it, you probably head directly to Google or Yahoo when looking for something online. It’s a habit, and you know what to expect when the results page pops up: millions of options. But you rarely click past the first or second page of links.
Next time you find yourself wading through not-quite-right search results, head to Bing, which just marked its anniversary. You may be surprised.
“Search engines developed to help people find things across the Web,” said Stefan Weitz, director in search at Microsoft Corp., which owns Bing. “People began to realize the Web is more than a collection of links and content. We saw people using the Web to actually accomplish things they want to get done.
“Bing takes people past a high-speed, comprehensive directory. It helps them make decisions in their lives,” Weitz said. “The Web is a collection of services. People can buy, people can book and people can get information. Assuming a keyword-based search leads to a piece of information and assuming that’s the end-all, be-all. Well, that’s just not it.”
Weitz points to several areas of Bing that have gotten more attention than others, including health, travel and maps.
“Health is one of the best verticals we have,” he said. “People have a need to get authoritative information. There is so much bad information out there on the Web. A lot of the work the Bing team does is to curate the best sources either through algorithmic means or through human means, in some cases.
“We want to deliver to the user some nugget of knowledge they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
Weitz said Bing’s market share for search has grown to 11.9 percent. Microsoft’s Live Search, which Bing replaced, had just 8 percent market share. Weitz said there is plenty of opportunity to grow Bing’s user base.
Being third in a three-horse race lets Bing try new things. “We are superengaged with our customers and measure everything,” Weitz said. “Sometimes we have to zig when it says to zag.”
An example of Bing’s innovation is the “digital search” feature.
“If you’re buying a digital camera, regular search doesn’t really work,” Weitz said. “You want this number of megapixels, this color and other variables. It makes more sense to manipulate the objects in cyberspace, so we filled an untapped need that people have.”
The photo that dominates Bing’s home page changes daily and has included images from user contests. Weitz said the popularity of the photos is one of the surprises so far.
Bing it, and you’ll see for yourself.
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Clark County District D gets an iPhone app
“myDistrictD” at iTunes Application Store
You’re driving through the neighborhood and spot a wall that’s been freshly tagged with graffiti or a pile of trash that’s now sitting in an empty lot. You pull over, take out your iPhone and shoot a photo or two of the offensive markings or trash heap. Then, with just a few keystrokes, you send the photos to the Clark County Commissioner’s office.
The app uses the iPhone’s built-in global positioning feature to attach the location the photo was shot, making it easier for cleanup crews to pinpoint graffiti or trash. The pilot program gives residents another channel to report areas that need attention.
American Graffiti created the app and provided it to the county for free. American Graffiti is the company that has the contract to clean up graffiti in the resort corridor with the help of an iPhone app called “Target Graffiti” that was developed for company use.