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The fake news problem is anything but fake. It has flooded all social media platforms and remains an issue that many still believe shaped the results of the 2016 American election. Well, turns out that Microsoft’s Bing also had a fake news problem. One YouTube channel gamed the Microsoft Search engine and flooded it with hoaxes and fake news videos (via The Verge.)

The problem at heart in the situation happened to be with the Bing autofill feature. For example, when a user clicks on the News section of Bing, the search bar can be auto-filled with a “Top Stories” suggestion. After clicking through, the same “top stories” query will then follow the user and autofill through other sections of the search engine, including Maps, Images, and more importantly, videos.

It is the videos section where “Top Stories” goes a bit rogue and linked users to fake news videos from the “Top Stories Today” YouTube channel. According to The Verge, examples of fake videos from the channel included “Breaking: Germany demands immediate prosecution of Obama” and “Russian is about to take out Obama permanently.” These videos reportedly racked up 83.6 million views, and are obviously aimed to promote Donald Trump and criticize Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The fake news videos in Bing (Image via The Verge)

Microsoft has since removed this YouTube channel from the search results, and at the time of writing, we were unable to find these videos via a “Top Stories” query in Bing Videos. Instead, we were linked to videos to the USA Today YouTube channel, a much more reliable source.  Searches for “Top News today,” though, still linked us to fake news videos. Microsoft provided the following statement about this issue:

“As soon as we become aware of this type of content, we take action to remove it from news search results, which we are doing in this case.”

Bing previously received a Fact Check label feature to help users identify fake news, but the label only applied to web searches and not videos. Safe to say that Microsoft may have learned a lesson in this instance. Do you think that Bing needs more fact checking features? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 Source: This article was published onmsft.com By ARIF BACCHUS

Published in Search Engine

In a blog post titled, Toward a More Intelligent Search: Bing Multi-Perspective Answers, Bing announced they are now incorporating a technology often referred to as sentiment analysis into their version of what Google calls Featured Snippets.

Sentiment Analysis is the ability to understand whether the content has a negative or positive sentiment. The implications of how this may affect SEO are far-ranging, especially if Google rolls out their version of it.

A criticism Google’s often received is that their featured snippets are sometimes biased by the question asked. Danny Sullivan recently addressed this shortcoming in Google’s featured snippets:

“…people who search for “are reptiles good pets” should get the same featured snippet as “are reptiles bad pets” since they are seeking the same information: how do reptiles rate as pets? However, the featured snippets we serve contradict each other.

This happens because sometimes our systems favor content that’s strongly aligned with what was asked.”

Engineers at Bing were asking similar questions and doing something about it. According to Bing’s announcement:

“There are many questions that don’t have just one answer, but multiple valid perspectives on a given topic. Should I repeat my search with the word “bad” or “good” in it every time I wanted to get a comprehensive picture of a topic and hear the other side? How would I even know how and when to do that? Should I assume that this single answer Bing returned for me was the best or the only answer? Is that the most authoritative page to answer my question?

“…we believe that your search engine should inform you when there are different viewpoints to answer a question you have, and it should help you save research time while expanding your knowledge with the rich content available on the Web.”

Google is Exploring How to Add Sentiment Analysis

In Danny Sullivan’s article, A Reintroduction to Featured Snippets, he confirmed that sentiment analysis is on their to-do list.

“We’re exploring solutions to this challenge, including showing multiple responses.

“There are often legitimate diverse perspectives offered by publishers, and we want to provide users visibility and access into those perspectives from multiple sources,” Matthew Gray, the software engineer who leads the featured snippets team, told me.”

How to Rank for Intelligent Snippets?

Bing offers clues about what signals they are looking for in sites they rank for intelligent snippets. Here are some of the attributes of the sites they rank:

  1. Authoritative and high quality
  2. Relevant to the topic
  3. Content is easy to crawl and index
  4. Good user experience on the web page

Here are the clues Bing’s announcement disclosed:

“…we prioritize reputable content from authoritative, high quality websites that are relevant to the subject in question, have easily discoverable content and minimal to no distractions on the site.”

The way it works is when you issue a question:

1. Their Web Search and Question Answering engine select candidates from web pages.

2. They organize the candidates in clusters to determine similarity and sentiment

3. Bing ranks the most relevant passages from the web pages from each sentiment based cluster

Limited to the United States


These results are currently limited to a few. However, Bing will be rolling out more results in the near future. These kinds of results are also coming to the United Kingdom soon as well.

“This is just the beginning. We will expand this functionality to address many more questions you have, increase coverage, and expand beyond the US, starting with the United Kingdom in the next few months.”

How Will This Affect SEO?

Sentiment analysis can play a role in helping search engines understand if a review is negative or positive. So if someone links to a web page with a negative sentiment (as in a negative review), then the search engine will know this is negative and may decide not to count the link or to count it as a negative vote.  This may be especially useful for local SEO but it can conceivably creep into regular search as well.

The fact that Bing has confirmed they are using sentiment analysis is big news. That Google has announced their intentions to add it to featured snippets is very important. The big question, of course, is if this kind of technology will be used in other areas of search.

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti

Published in Search Engine

How Top Stories Today gamed the system

Over the course of the last several years, every major social platform has been plagued by fake news. Now Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has a fake news problem of its own.

Because of how the search engine’s autofill feature works, people who visit Bing looking for news videos may be redirected to a flood of fake news videos, all generated by a single source. You can see how it works for yourself: click on the “News” tab from Bing’s homepage. The page autofills the search bar with “Top stories.” Now travel to any other search tab, including “Maps” or “Images” and you’ll see that the search bar retains the “Top stories” query. Autofilling “Top stories” into the search bar appears to be an innocuous design decision — until you hit the “Video” tab.

There, you’ll see a wall of videos including “Breaking: Germany demands immediate prosecution of Obama”; “The Royal wedding in jeopardy,” and “Russian is about to take out Obama permanently.” Many of the videos promote moves made by President Donald Trump, and offer criticism of former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Collectively, the videos have earned 83.6 million views.

And every video comes from one YouTube account: Top Stories Today, an account which appears to have been designed to game Bing’s design. The channel is devoted to promoting false and sensationalized news videos narrated by synthesized voices, which often speak in a kind of gibberish. “We report the genuine news and circumstances occurring the world over,” reads the account’s “about” page on YouTube. “Genuine Reports that the predominant press doesn’t need you to think about! We are your #ONE source for the most vital world event and stories happening every day!”

In content and in tone, Top Stories Today’s videos are reminiscent of the hoaxes that spread virally on Facebook and other platforms during the 2016 election.

“As soon as we become aware of this type of content, we take action to remove it from news search results, which we are doing in this case,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. A message sent to Top Stories Today was not returned.

Source: This article was published theverge.com By Casey Newton

Published in Search Engine

Following Google’s removal of the “view image” button from its image search results last week, several users will move to other browsers like Microsoft’s Bing and Startpage that allow download of high-resolution images with a right-click, media reported.

Google, after signing a multi-year global licensing deal with Getty Images, removed the “view image” button – a move set to curb the lifting of copyrighted images from its platform.

According to a BBC report, critics said the changes were “awful”, “user-unfriendly” and “degraded the product”.

“This is a terrible idea… You find an image on Google Images only for the image to be nowhere in sight. Talk about destroying your own successful service,” one user tweeted.

Several users suggested people should try rival image search engines such as Bing which still has a “view image” button.

“Others pointed out that right-clicking an image in Google’s Chrome browser, and clicking ‘open image in new tab’ replicated the missing function,” the report added.

if you were a frequent user of the feature, you can still get a similar experience through another search engine called Startpage.

“The browser is focused on privacy and provides Google’s search results but with no targeted ads and more privacy,” the report said on Monday.

Media reports said that Google will make copyright attribution and disclaimers more prominent in image search results.

“The change is essentially meant to frustrate users. Google has long been under fire from photographers and publishers who felt that image search allowed people to steal their pictures, and the removal of the view image button is one of many changes being made in response,” said The Verge.

Websites sometimes disable the ability to right-click, too, which would make it even harder for someone to grab a photo they’re looking for.

In addition to removing the ‘view image’ button, Google has also removed the ‘search by image’ button that appeared when people opened up an image.

Meanwhile, adding a simple extension to the Chrome browser could bring the button back.

According to The Next Web, “ViewImage” extension re-implements the Google Images’ “View Image” and “Search by Image” buttons.

“ViewImage” adds the “Search by Image” and “ViewImage” buttons back to the Google images results page and the code for this extension is available on web-based hosting service GitHub.

Users simply need to install this browser extension in Chrome or Opera and they would see the button back where it was.

Source: This article was published thestatesman.co

Published in Search Engine

There is plenty of fake news circulating on the internet today. The vast majority falls into the category of “Nobody capable of reading could actually be dumb enough to think this is true,” and yet the stories are liked, shared, and promoted by millions who inexplicably believe them. Of course, it doesn’t help when the fake news stories are being offered up by what you might otherwise assume to be a credible source of information—like from Microsoft’s Bing.

If you visit the Bing website, it defaults to a beautiful picture of the day with a white Bing search box in the middle. Across the top are links for News, Maps, Videos and Images. If you click on News, it automatically populates the search field with “top stories”. If you then click the other links, the “top stories” term remains, and the results that appear are related to the search “top stories.”

A YouTube channel dedicated to propagating ludicrous fake news figured out how to exploit this design flaw and game the Microsoft Bing page into displaying their stories—almost exclusively. The name of the YouTube channel is “Top Stories Today,” so it automatically ranks higher in a search for “top stories” because it’s right in the name.

The titles of most of the videos make it obvious that they’re blatantly false. If that wasn’t enough, though, the source should also be a tip-off. Any tinfoil hat wearing nutjob who thinks the Earth is flat, or Infowars is legitimate news can cobble together a YouTube video to convey whatever hallucinogenic, fever-inspired conspiracy theory they wish.

I was reluctant, but I took one for the team and clicked on a link. The narrator's voice sounds computer-generated—like if you mixed Sean Hannity and Max Headroom—so that too should be a hint that this news is a few apples short of a bushel. The “story” I clicked breathlessly “enlightened” me about what an awesome job actor James Woods did spewing verifiably false things about former President Barack Obama on Twitter.

The danger here is that someone who doesn’t know any better, and—for whatever reason—can’t pick up on all the clues, will see these videos displayed among videos from MSN and USA Today, and actually believe them. The tricky part about a decent fake news story is that it contains just enough truth or plausible content to suck you in, so by the end, you’re at least thinking, “Huh. Maybe?” Then, those people will go on Facebook and post them to share the shocking news with their friends and family and spark heated partisan debates.

For what it’s worth, this only seems to happen if the first link you click on from the Bing website is News. If you click Videos, Maps or Images first, the search field is not automatically populated with “top stories”, and even if you subsequently visit the News link it doesn’t populate with “top stories” or remain persistent when you go to the other links.

Hopefully, Microsoft is now aware of this flaw and will take steps to do something about it. That is just the tip of the iceberg, though. There’s a lot more than search engines, social media sites, and legitimate news sources need to do to counter the rising tide of fake news and restore some sanity online.

Update: Microsoft did, in fact, take immediate action to remove the YouTube fake news links from the Videos feed on Bing as quickly as possible once it was notified. the behavior of automatically populating the search criteria with "Top Stories" when you click on News first still occurs, but the fake news YouTube videos have been stripped from the results.

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Tony Bradley

Published in News & Politics

Specific answers for specific needs.

When most of us have a question we want to research online, we run to Google for the answer. But it's not the only search engine out there. Venture off the beaten path, and you can find more specialized sites—like the self-proclaimed "computational search engine" Wolfram Alpha or the privacy-conscious DuckDuckGo—that will help you track down exactly what you're looking for. While the well-trained algorithms of Google or even Bing might be the best choice in some situations, to find what you're seeking more quickly, it helps to know which search engine is best for which task.

General interest, personal updates, and games: Google

Let's go ahead and talk about the elephant in the article: When it comes to general searches, Google crushes the competition. It has an extremely well-trained algorithm and offers the largest index of pages—a search for "Mars planet," for example, brings up 5.7 million Google results as opposed to 99,800 Bing ones. That means this search behemoth is still more likely to turn up an obscure blog post, forum message, or online document than any of its rivals, which makes it ideal for researching computer error messages or specialized scientific topics.

On top of its general-interest search chops, Google is great for looking up highly specialized information...about you. Because of the search engine ties in with its other services, such as Gmail and Google Photos, it can pull up your personal data while you're signed into your account. Search for "my flights" or "my trips," and Google will pull details from your booking confirmation emails. On a less fun note, type in "my bills," and Google will sort through your email reminders, using them to show you any upcoming payments you need to make. As for images, try looking up "my photos of Sydney" (replacing the Australian city with your latest vacation destination), or search for photos based on time and date with "my photos from last week or "my photos from July 2014."

Finally, Google makes a great search engine if you're searching for a distraction—specifically a browser-based game. For example, look up "Atari Breakout," switch to the Images tab, and use the cursor keys to control the ensuing action. Similarly, try entering "solitaire," "pac-man," or "tic tac toe" to bring up basic versions of those titles. In addition to games, Google incorporates apps that do serve a purpose: Type "flip a coin" or "roll a die" to do just that, or input "stopwatch," "timer," or "calculator" to display the relevant utilities on screen. Then operate these mini-apps right from their Google results pages.

Images and videos: Bing

Although Bing aims to compete with Google in general search results, one of its real advantages lies in its image and video search abilities. On these results pages, Bing has more filtering options, a better display interface, and excellent suggestions for related searches.

When you're hunting for a video, the results page displays clips in a well-formatted grid rather than a list, making it easier to quickly browse through thumbnails. Bing also triggers an auto-preview feature whenever you hover the mouse cursor over a clip.

As for images, Bing provides extra methods for filtering your results, methods that Google doesn't offer. For example, if you're looking for a particular person, you can focus on only pictures that show faces. It also lets you apply a larger set of image-rights filters.

Images that are free to reuse: Flickr

While Bing lets you filter images based on their rights—how non-owners are allowed to use them—it can't beat the free-image search power of Flickr. Specifically, you can limit your image search to images that photographers have released under Creative Commons licenses, which allow you to repost their work for free, albeit with certain restrictions.

To get started, enter what you're looking for—let's say "cats" for this example—and click Search. Right away, you can adjust the order in which pictures appear by clicking the Relevant drop-down list on the right: Flickr lets you sort pictures by relevance, date, or the "interesting" filter, which elevates pictures that have drawn more activity, such as comments, views, and likes. You can further narrow down your options by color, depth of field, or pattern.

Even once you've limited your list to images you like, not all of them will be free to use. However, images released under Creative Commons often are, although the exact rules governing their use do depend on the specific type of CC license. To see the license under which an image has been released, click the copyright symbol on the lower-right of its photo page. And to filter by license, click the Any license drop-down menu on the left of the search page and limit your results to images released under Creative Commons.

Science and media data: Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha focuses on answering more technical science and math queries. For example, you can balance a chemical equation with a search like "Al + O2 -> Al2O3," look up properties of compounds with "flash point methane, butane, octane," and answer earth science questions like "seismic travel times from San Francisco to Las Vegas." It's equally adept with math equations: Try "circle, diameter=2," to find the properties of that shape, or test out a more complicated figure like "annulus, inner radius=2, outer radius=5." Draw graphs from "plot sin x cos y" to "plot 3x2-2xy+y2=1" and fill out sequences by typing the first few figures: "1, 2, 4, 8, ..."

But while Wolfram Alpha started with math, it has expanded its scope to provide data on literature, music, movie, and TV shows. Hit it with queries like "how many words in Hamlet?" to answer all your technical questions. You can also compare two items, such as "Hamlet vs Macbeth," to see how their publication dates, lengths, number of characters mentioned, and other data stack up. You can also compare stats about movies and TV shows in a similar way. Even natural language searches—such as "movies starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro" or "movies with the longest running time"—are fair game.

Of course, the computational search engine manages to add technical information to the mix: Run a query like "first episode of Friends," and Wolfram Alpha will tell you not only when that episode aired, but also how many days ago that date fell and what its sunrise and sunset times were.

Wolfram Alpha

See if Wolfram Alpha can solve your science, math, and media problems.

Wolfram Alpha

Job listings: LinkedIn

Don't neglect the search engines built into the sites you visit every day—these will often lead you to information that's only accessible to users who have signed into the site. In other words, a public search from Google or Bing won't be able to scrape this data.

LinkedIn makes a good example. Next time you go job hunting, start your search by signing into your account. Then click on the search box at the top of the page and choose Jobs. Hit All filters to see all the ways you can limit your results, including by experience level and industry. Limit them further by entering a job title and location in the fields at the top. Finally, click Search, and you're on your way.

Looking for potential new connections on LinkedIn is just as straightforward. Click in the box at the top, choose People, and click All filters. Now you can browse by name, title, location, company, industry, and more. Review the tick boxes on the right to filter for people you know directly (click 1st) or people connected to your existing contacts (click 2nd or 3rd+).

Private questions: DuckDuckGo

There's one big problem with search engines: The companies behind them keep track of what you're looking for. If you'd prefer to keep your browsing history private, then you need DuckDuckGo. It doesn't keep records of your searches, won't feed you personalized results, and refuses to provide fodder for targeted ads. DuckDuckGo also preserves your privacy as you browse elsewhere—so a search for "smartphones" won't cause an endless series of phone advertisements to begin appearing as you bounce around other sites. It's almost as if you never ran that search.

Beyond its focus on privacy, DuckDuckGo acts as a fast and comprehensive search engine, letting you hunt for images and videos as well as websites. It also enables you to restrict results by country or by publication date. Finally, you can search individual sites through the DuckDuckGo interface using a tool it calls Bangs: Try entering "!amazon shoes" or "!Wikipedia apollo missions" into the search bar to see how they work.

There are two types of searches that really benefit from DuckDuckGo's enhanced privacy. First, there's the secret inquiries that you really don't want Google keeping track of (particularly if you share a computer with others). When you decide to look up that weird rash that you don't want anyone to know about, do it on DuckDuckGo. Second, you should use the privacy-conscious search if you're searching for a product but don't want to receive ads about it for the rest of your life.

Source: This article was published popsci.com By David Nield

Published in Search Engine

Google might be the biggest but there are other search engines, too

Most people don't want three dozen search engines, especially people who are not trained internet users. Most people want a single search engine that delivers three key features:

  1. Relevant results (results you are actually interested in)
  2. Uncluttered, easy to read interface
  3. Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search

With this criteria, several of our reader favorites come to mind. These search sites should meet 99 percent of the searching needs of a regular everyday user.

Google Search

Google Search Google Search. screenshot

Google is the reigning king of 'spartan searching', and is the single most used search engine in the world. While it doesn't offer all the shopping center features of Yahoo! or the human curation of Mahalo, Google is fast, relevant, and the largest single catalogue of web pages available today. The search giant also tracks an incredible amount of information that many people don't even know they are giving out.

Make sure you try the Google 'images', 'maps' and 'news' features... they are outstanding services for locating photos, geographic directions, and news headlines. P.S. If you don't want Google to spy on you, protect yourself.

Duck Duck Go Search

DuckDuckGo search results DuckDuckGo search results. DuckDuckGo

At first, DuckDuckGo.com looks like Google. However, there are many subtleties that make this spartan search engine different.

DuckDuckGo has some slick features, like 'zero-click' information (all your answers are found on the first results page). DuckDuckgo offers disambiguation prompts (helps to clarify what question you are really asking). Plus, the ad spam is much less than Google.

Give DuckDuckGo.com a try... you might really like this clean and simple search engine.

Bing Search

Bing Search
 Bing Search. screenshot

Bing is Microsoft's attempt at unseating Google, and arguably the second-most-popular search engine today. Bing used to be MSN search until it was updated in summer of 2009.

Touted as a decision engine, Bing tries to support your researching by offering suggestions in the leftmost column, while also giving you various search options across the top of the screen. Things like 'wiki' suggestions, 'visual search', and 'related searches' might be very useful to you. Bing is not dethroning Google in the near future, no, but it is definitely worth trying.  

Dogpile Search

Dogpile Search Dogpile Search. screenshot

Years ago, Dogpile preceded Google as the fast and efficient choice for web searching. Things changed in the late 1990's, Dogpile faded into obscurity, and Google became king.

Today, however, Dogpile is coming back, with a growing index and a clean and quick presentation that is a testimony to its halcyon days. If you want to try a search tool with pleasant presentation and helpful crosslink results, definitely try Dogpile!

Yippy Search

Yippy Search Results
 Yippy Search Results. Yippy

Yippy is a Deep Web engine that searches other search engines for you. Unlike the regular Web, which is indexed by robot spider programs, Deep Web pages are usually harder to locate by conventional search.

That's where Yippy becomes very useful. If you are searching for obscure hobby interest blogs, obscure government information, tough-to-find obscure news, academic research and otherwise-obscure content, then Yippy is your tool. 

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar SearchGoogle Scholar Search. screenshot

Google Scholar is a special version of Google. This search engine will help you win debates.

Google Scholar focuses on scientific and hard-research academic material that has been subjected to scrutiny by scientists and scholars. Example content includes graduate theses, legal and court opinions, academic publications, medical research reports, physics research papers, and economics and world politics explanations.

If you are looking for serious information that can stand up in a heated debate with educated people, then forget regular Google... Google Scholar is where you want to go to arm yourself with high powered sources!

Webopedia Search

Webopedia Search
 Webopedia Search. screenshot

Webopedia is one of the most useful websites on the web. Webopedia is an encyclopedic resource dedicated to searching technology terminology and computer definitions.

Teach yourself what 'domain name system' is, or what 'DDRAM' means on your computer. Webopedia is absolutely a perfect resource for non-technical people to make more sense of the computers around them.

Yahoo! Search (and More)

Yahoo! Search
 Yahoo! Search. screenshot

Yahoo! is several things: it is a search engine, a news aggregator, a shopping center, an email box, a travel directory, a horoscope and games center, and more.

This 'web portal' breadth of choice makes this a very helpful site for Internet beginners. Searching the Web should also be about discovery and exploration, and Yahoo! delivers that in wholesale quantities. (By the way, here's what happened to Yahoo! avatars and Yahoo! 360 in case you were wondering.)

The Internet Archive Search

The Internet Archive SearchInternet Archive Search. screenshot

The Internet Archive is a favorite destination for longtime Web lovers. The Archive has been taking snapshots of the entire World Wide Web for years now, allowing you and me to travel back in time to see what a web page looked like in 1999, or what the news was like around Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

You won't visit the Archive daily like you would Google or Yahoo or Bing, but when you do have a need to travel back in time, use this search site.

 Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Paul Gil

Published in Search Engine

Google may be the household name when it comes to search, but Microsoft is hoping it can make its Bing search engine the smartest. The Redmond, Wash.-based company has announced a handful of new features that it says are powered by artificial intelligence. The updates will start rolling out on Wednesday and will continue over the coming week.

The biggest changes enable Bing to be smarter about the information it chooses to display above search results in response to a query. The search engine will now be able to pull information from multiple sources, rather than just one. If a user has a question or request with opposing answers or viewpoints, Bing will be able to aggregate both perspectives and display them at the top of the page.

One example of where users might see this is when typing in a query like “side effects of coffee.” Once Microsoft’s updates start to kick in, Bing will be able to pull bits of information from more than one source and show them alongside one another above results, so that users can see both angles without having to dig through a list of links. Google currently answers this type of question with a featured snippet, which is an informational block that sums up an answer with information extracted from a web page.

Similarly, if a search query involves some type of comparison, such as “yoga vs. pilates,” Bing will surface an information box that breaks down the differences between the two terms, rather than grabbing a snippet from an article. Microsoft’s Project Brainwave initiative, a platform for boosting real-time AI performance, provides the foundation for these additions to Bing, the company says.

Microsoft is adding other features to Bing as well. One can identify individual objects within photos that appear in image search results so that users can shop for those items. Another enables Bing to offer clarifying questions based on a search query in order to help filter results more precisely.

The news comes as Google continues to frequently refine its own search engine. Just this month alone, Google updated its featured snippets section to include more images as well as launched a new program that allows celebrities to answer commonly asked questions in a search. These features may be different than the functions Microsoft is pursuing with Bing, but the two companies are undoubtedly working toward the same goal of helping provide relevant information quickly without forcing users to trove through reams of data available on the web.

Bing also only accounts for a sliver of search engine traffic: Google held 81% of search engine market share across desktop and mobile devices between Dec. 2016 and Nov. 2017, according to analytics firm NetMarketShare. Baidu placed in second with 7.82% of the market, while Bing landed in third with 5.72%. Google also has a major advantage when it comes to mobile, considering its search bar sits on the home screen of most popular Android phones, and Android is estimated to account for roughly 85% of worldwide smartphone shipments according to IDC projections. Microsoft, meanwhile, recently said it has doesn’t intend to release new Windows Phone products. Bing, however, is the default search engine on Microsoft’s Edge browser, which comes preinstalled on Windows 10 computers.

But Microsoft’s improvements to Bing are likely about much more than just trying to steal some attention away from Google’s massively popular search engine. Smarter search tools will be important as new tech platforms, like virtual assistants, augmented and virtual reality, and smart home devices continue to spread, particularly if they’re relying on search results and history to answer questions or learn more about a user’s habits. “Search is more pervasive in everything we do as we spend more time online,” says Michael Inouye, a principal analyst for ABI Research. “That digital profile that we have [online] is going to become more valuable, and search is a big part of that.”

Source: This article was published time.com By LISA EADICICCO

Published in Search Engine

Reddit posts will appear in Bing's search results, and its data will be piped into Power BI for marketers to track brand-related comments.

Microsoft is bringing the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” to the pages of its search results.

Microsoft has struck a deal with Reddit to pipe data from the social network into Bing’s search results, as well as Power BI’s analytics dashboard, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Now, when people search on Bing, posts published to Reddit may be included in the search results. For example, if a person’s query asks something like “what were the best video games released in 2017,” answers may be sourced from comments left in Reddit’s “gaming” subreddit or topic-specific forum.

People will also be able to use Bing to specifically search for content from Reddit. Typing “reddit [subreddit name]” will return a link to that subreddit and a selection of top comments that have been posted to it. And typing “reddit AMAs” will return a collection of popular AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) sessions, which are live question-and-answer forums that people can host on Reddit. Additionally, if people search for the name of a person who has a hosted an AMA on Reddit, a selection of responses from the Q&A session will appear among the non-Reddit results.

In addition to bringing Reddit’s data to Bing users, Microsoft is also opening that data up to brands. Brands will be able to access Reddit data through Microsoft’s Power BI analytics tool, with options to specify the keywords to track and toggle the time frames to examine. As a result, marketers will be able to monitor what people are saying about their brand or competing brands on Reddit and have that information processed using Power BI’s sentiment analysis feature and plotted into data visualizations.

The deal with Microsoft’s Power BI is similar to one that Reddit announced with social marketing platform Sprinklr last week in terms of accessing Reddit data. Brands will be able to see which subreddits they are mentioned on and then buy ads targeted those audiences.

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Tim Peterson

Published in Search Engine

Queries provide data mine for Microsoft's AI developments

Microsoft's Bing search engine has long been a punch line in the tech industry, an also-ran that has never come close to challenging Google's dominant position.

But Microsoft could still have the last laugh, since its service has helped lay the groundwork for its burgeoning artificial intelligence effort, which is helping keep the company competitive as it builds out its post-PC future.

Bing probably never stood a chance at surpassing Google, but its 2nd-place spot is worth far more than the advertising dollars it pulls in with every click. Billions of searches over time have given Microsoft a massive repository of everyday questions people ask about their health, the weather, store hours or directions.

“The way machines learn is by looking for patterns in data,” said former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, when asked earlier this year about the relationship between Microsoft's AI efforts and Bing, which he helped launch nearly a decade ago. “It takes large data sets to make that happen.”

Microsoft has spent decades investing in various forms of artificial intelligence research, the fruits of which include its voice assistant Cortana, email-sorting features and the machine-learning algorithms used by businesses that pay for its cloud platform Azure.

It's been stepping up its overt efforts recently, such as with this year's acquisition of Montreal-based Maluuba, which aims to create “literate machines” that can process and communicate information more like humans do.

Some see Bing as the overlooked foundation to those efforts.

“They're getting a huge amount of data across a lot of different contexts – mobile devices, image searches,” said Larry Cornett, a former executive for Yahoo's search engine. “Whether it was intentional or not, having hundreds of millions of queries a day is exactly what you need to power huge artificial intelligence systems.”

Bing started in 2009, a rebranding of earlier Microsoft search engines. Yahoo and Microsoft signed a deal for Bing to power Yahoo's search engine, giving Microsoft access to Yahoo's greater search share, said Cornett, who worked for Yahoo at the time. Similar deals have infused Bing into the search features for Amazon tablets and, until recently, Apple's Siri.

All of this has helped Microsoft better understand language, images and text at a large scale, said Steve Clayton, who as Microsoft's chief storyteller helps communicate the company's AI strategy.

“It's so much more than a search engine for Microsoft,” he said. “It's fuel that helps build other things.”

Bing serves dual purposes, he said, as a source of data to train artificial intelligence and a vehicle to be able to deliver smarter services.

While Google also has the advantage of a powerful search engine, other companies making big investments in the AI race – such as IBM or Amazon – do not.

“Amazon has access to a ton of e-commerce queries, but they don't have all the other queries where people are asking everyday things,” Cornett said.

Neither Bing nor Microsoft's AI efforts have yet made major contributions to the company's overall earnings, though the company repeatedly points out “we are infusing AI into all our products,” including the workplace applications it sells to corporate customers.

The company on Thursday reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $6.6 billion, up 16 percent from a year earlier, on revenue of $24.5 billion, up 12 percent. Meanwhile, Bing-driven search advertising revenue increased by $210 million, or 15 percent, to $1.6 billion – or roughly 7 percent of Microsoft's overall business.

That's OK by current Microsoft current CEO Satya Nadella, who nearly a decade ago was the executive tapped by Ballmer to head Bing's engineering efforts.

In his recent autobiography, Nadella describes the search engine as a “great training ground for building the hyper-scale, cloud-first services” that have allowed the company to pivot to new technologies as its old PC-software business wanes.

Source: This article was published journalgazette.net By MATT O'BRIEN

Published in Search Engine
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