Bing’s future

Front page, lead story in the Seattle Times – Bing no longer a search-engine blip, Matt Day (May 22). Microsoft claims that one in five searches in the U.S. on desktop computers is done through Bing. Actually, Bing has been gaining from Yahoo – and Yahoo had been using the Bing database. Also – many challenges remain. Bing has yet to break even, or make any inroad on mobile devices.

Of greatest interest: “Microsoft has integrated Bing’s underlying data-crunching technology into its other software, and plans to tie it closely to its upcoming Windows 10 operating system.”

Google removed reading level

One by one Google strips itself of the features that made  the Google search engine  excellent for web search. This time it’s the reading level search filter. Presumably it wasn’t used much, but that is hardly a good reason – not when it was a feature valued by a key segment of the user population.

Google Drops Another Search Filter: Reading Level, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (May 8)

Karen Blakeman, a professional searcher, is one who feels the loss. She commented in – Google dumps Reading Level search filter that feature helped to separate the technical, serious articles from “consumer or retail focused pages” – which I think we could call the trivial. She wonders, as do I, which of the few remaining advanced search features Google will drop next. Pray that it won’t be number range.

State of Search April 2015

The thrill that people in the search business used to have in showing others the power of Google has gone. Instead, there is alarm or dismay over Google’s dominance.  This shows in Karen Blakeman’s slideshow presentation – New Google, New Challenges  (April 2015) in which the presentation begins with a review of Google’s clashes with Spanish newspapers, the EU, France over the search algorithm. There is a growing view that Google oversteps and oversells. Its current direction may be artificial intelligence – which may improve search and definitely unnerve us more. At slide 44, Blakeman recaps useful syntax at Google. There aren’t many alternatives for broad web search – pretty well reduced to Bing and DuckDuckGo. is on Blakeman’s  list, but my experience has been that the search engine is often overloaded. Presentations closes with some tools and techniques for searching social media.

Private Search

Blur Private Search is a new search service for making your web searches private. It operates as a plug-in to your browser (home page says Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Internet Explorer), and can be toggled on and off. Requires registration and login to use. See Blur Private Search: How It Works

ReadWrite described the benefits and operation of  Private Search  in this article How To Blur Your Search Tracks On Google (Apr 17)

Private Search provides a new made-up identity for each individual search. It then funnels the request through an SSL tunnel, so that the search is encrypted—even Abine can’t see what you’re searching for. And every phrase or topic you search appears as if it is unconnected to previous searches, since each query is sent through Abine’s server with an entirely different IP address (which is yet another avenue by which websites can track people).

New Arrangements for Yahoo and Microsoft

Yahoo and Microsoft have agreed to a new relationship by which Yahoo will be allowed to be less dependent on Bing for ads and search results – Yahoo will be able to draw from other sources including its own technology.

Yahoo-Bing Reach New Search Deal; Yahoo Gains Right To Serve Search Ads On The PC, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Apr 16)

Yahoo, when it partnered with Microsoft for Bing search several years ago, gave up everything on desktop search. Now it’s reclaiming space for placing its own ads on 49% of search results, and of generating 49% of search results from sources other than Bing.

“Bing will continue to provide the underlying non-paid search results and technology for Yahoo. In the old agreement, Yahoo gave up the technology it had for ten years and pretty much just mirrored Bing’s results with a Yahoo look-and-feel. But under the new agreement, it now has the flexibility to generate about half its results using its own technology or even to partner with someone else, if it wants. Bing just has to be used for 51% of all search results.”

Is this in time for Yahoo to draw back search traffic?

Google drops in-depth

Several have reported that Google has dropped labelling In Depth Articles – they are being blended into organic results and the accompanying images have been dropped. In Depth articles didn’t show in results – annoying for searchers in Canada. This is an odd change in design – don’t they want users to know that those items are more “in depth” and of higher quality?

Google Quietly Drops In Depth Articles Title In Search Results, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable. (Apr 10)

DuckDuckGo – more instant answers

DuckDuckGo has a newsletter – part of the blog where they announce the new and brilliant features.

DuckDuckGo Adds Instant Answers For Nearby Parking, Online Courses & UV Index Risks, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (April 7)

One new feature is to find nearby parking to a place. Much to my amazement it had an answer for Roy Thomson Hall Toronto – though only one, not close, and very expensive – but it’s a start.

Will find online courses too – just enter topic + online course; eg., happiness online courses – there are many.

Dates in Google Answer Boxes

Watch for it – Google is showing more dates with search results – especially those handy Answer Boxes.

Google Begins Including Dates on Answer Boxes in Search Results to Show Timeliness, Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post (April 6)

Some answer boxes are now displaying the date the content was published at the end of the content in the answer box to show how timely the information presented is. Especially on topics that are constantly changing, this means that a searcher can perhaps get a better idea of how accurate the information is based upon the date it was published