Microsoft has a long standing history of providing internet users with search engines many years before developing Bing. As a great number of people go online looking for answers, having a powerful search tool in your portfolio is a big deal. Microsoft has been working in this field since the late nineties, when MSN Search first saw the light of day – or the computer screen – in 1999.
Since then, Microsoft’s search engine has gone through numerous developments and name changes, being known as Windows Live Search, and then only Live Search, before being fully re-branded and updated. This massive effort to revamp the search engine and compete with other authorities in the business came to an end in 2009, when a bunch of services offered under the Live Search umbrella such as Live Search QnA or Live Product Upload were finally shut down and Bing was unveiled.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer first presented Bing to the tech world in May 2009 at a conference in San Diego called “All Things Digital”. The service became widely available the following month. The name Bing was chosen for a variety of reasons bounced off a focus group: it’s easy to remember, transfers very well into different languages, and reminds people of the onomatopoeic sound often associated with discovering something or finding out the answer to a question.
Bing Company History: Bing Is Not Google
Jokes were circulating among the software developer community that the meaning of Bing was “Bing is Not Google” but there was never an official response from Microsoft on the matter. Bing Company History shows another name seriously considered for the search engine and that was Bang but the idea was dropped as it was less relevant to convert the word into a verb when talking about the activity of searching something on the internet (e.g.: “Let me Bing this!”).
The working title for the project at Microsoft was Kumos, the Japanese word for cloud.
One of the most significant features of Bing is the way it’s programmed to organise search results by categories. For searches in certain fields, for example people, entertainment, health or events, the software displays a short menu on the left hand side of the screen called the Explore Pane. This section organises the results by relevant categories such as images, quotes, issues, biography, or facts.
These categories are chosen based on the most likely related searches a user will perform. For example when searching for the name of a celebrity, internet users are very likely to perform a subsequent search for their biography. Bing also integrates these categories in the main results section. Sometimes organising results into groups by default and displaying the first three results in each search group on the main page.
Bing is available in numerous languages. In 2012 Microsoft announced their desire to further connect with their users by including a third column into the search engine’s layout which will give users a peek into the activity of their social media feeds.
Since its beginnings, Bing has been clawing slowly but steadily at its competitors’ market share. By the beginning of 2011, Bing Company History shows its market share had increased to 12,8%. In February that year Bing beat Yahoo! when it received a 4.37% search share compared to Yahoo!’s 3.93%. However in 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! made a deal which still sees Yahoo! searches being powered by Bing.
Microsoft sent Bing off in 2009 with a huge marketing budget for its début, thought to be in the $80 million and $100 million range. The adverts explained Bing’s features and functionality. They aimed to get internet users to switch to Bing from whatever search engine they may have been using before. A later and more extravagant advertising campaign came along in 2010, when Microsoft created a small telenovela complete with Spanish dialogue and English subtitles, where a girl is shown how easy it is to find cinema tickets or travel information with Bing.