Bing

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  • Microsoft's age detection shows up in your Bing image searches

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    05.27.2015

    Microsoft's face-based age detection is still a little wonky (I'm thankfully younger than what you see above), but the company is clearly enamored with it -- you'll now find it in Bing image searches. All you have to do is look for a person and, in most cases, roll over the picture to find a #HowOldRobot that will guess how many birthdays the subject has seen. The feature is available in at least North America, so give it a shot... if for no other reason than to giggle at its occasionally harsh appraisals of your looks. Update: Microsoft says the tool is rolling out in Bing over the next week or so.

  • Microsoft will push mobile-friendly websites in its search results

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    05.14.2015

    Google isn't the only big internet company that will promote mobile-friendly websites in its search results -- Microsoft says it will soon give higher rankings to mobile-optimized sites in Bing. While the company won't push these sites at all costs (it's still interested in giving you the most relevant links), it expects these tuned pages to float closer to the top. To help things along, it's planning to release a tool that tells site operators whether or not their content is ready for smaller screens. Microsoft doesn't expect to roll out this updated search code for another few months, but it shouldn't be too long before the days of constant zooming and scrolling are over.

  • Microsoft and Yahoo can end their search deal after October 1st

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    04.21.2015

    Yahoo's renewed search deal with Microsoft is even more laissez-faire than it looks at first glance. A filing from the internet pioneer reveals that either company can call it quits from October 1st onward -- all they have to do is send a breakup letter and sit tight for four months. There's no sign that the companies are eager to end their pact, but the clause shows that the two tech firms aren't as dependent on each other as they were back when they forged the original deal in 2009. Microsoft has forged a number of other deals to use Bing (such as in Apple's Siri and Spotlight), while Yahoo is confident that it can build up its own ad platform -- and maybe, just maybe, revitalize its own search tech. [Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

  • Windows 10's phone maps help you find things to do

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    04.18.2015

    To put it mildly, Windows Phone's official mapping options are... basic. However, Microsoft is promising a better experience with the mobile Maps app in Windows 10. Get a recent preview version of Windows 10 and you'll see a map interface that is not only decidedly more modern-looking, but ties in more closely with Bing and rolls in some Here Maps features. You'll get the usual photos, reviews and directions (including Here's in-car navigation), but you'll also have an easier time finding things to do. You can specify that you're looking for something to eat near your hotel, for instance, and book the table reservation on the spot. This upgrade probably won't get you to switch phone platforms, but it's a big deal if you're a Windows phone fan who'd like to get Microsoft's best mapping services in a single app.

  • Yahoo is still relying on Microsoft's Bing, but now has more flexibility

    by 
    Devindra Hardawar
    Devindra Hardawar
    04.16.2015

    Yahoo isn't dumping Microsoft's Bing just yet. The two companies formed a search partnership back in 2009 that made Microsoft's search engine and ad platform an integral part of Yahoo's search, and today they announced the renewal of that partnership. But there are also a few new tweaks that makes the deal even better for Yahoo: It can now "enhance" its search experience on desktop and mobile, as the Bing partnership is now non-exclusive. So don't be surprised if Yahoo ends up taking its search interface in entirely new directions, or if Bing starts powering search on other big sites. Also, the two companies will take full control of their own ad platforms when it comes to search. That gives Yahoo the power to build up its own ad arm, while still getting some revenue from Bing ads that show up on its results. [Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

  • Bing's mobile homepage for iOS and Android gets a new look

    by 
    Mariella Moon
    Mariella Moon
    04.11.2015

    So, you like Bing but don't like it enough to download its app on your phone. Expect to see a new interface when you load the website on an Android or iOS browser, then, along with a number of new options when you swipe up the translucent card at the bottom. That includes a "Popular Now" section, which is essentially the mobile version of the desktop's news carousel. It lists trending stories around the web, some of which might be relevant to you and your location. There's also a new "Image of the day (IOTD) card" that displays info about the mobile and desktop website's daily background. Finally, you can use the "earn and explore" option to earn Bing Reward credits, which you might someday (if you're loyal and persistent) be able to redeem for gift cards.

  • Start shopping directly from Bing image search

    by 
    Roberto Baldwin
    Roberto Baldwin
    04.10.2015

    Microsoft continues to refine Bing in the hopes it can steal some of Google's search-dominance thunder. Today it updated Bing image search results with links to buy the item in the photo you select. The feature is still in beta, but once you select a photo and scroll down, a list of online retailers where the item can be purchased appear. Scrolling down from a selected result also surfaces the new related images, Pinterest collections, pages with the image and more sizes of the selected image. If you're a fan of window shopping on your computer, Bing's updated image search might be worth checking out.

  • Microsoft's Yahoo Answers rival quietly opens for testing

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    03.18.2015

    We've all stared, wide-eyed, at the people on Yahoo Answers who want to know how to become a real mermaid or why their cat vibrates. It appears that Microsoft has too, but it's philosophy is not to join its one-time friend, but to beat it with a homegrown rival. Bing Distill is a question and answer website where "millions ask" and, perhaps unsurprisingly, "you answer."

  • Microsoft's Surface tablet business is booming

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    01.26.2015

    Microsoft appears to be well past the days when it was writing off unsold Surface tablets and struggling to match Sony in game console sales. The Windows developer reports that its Devices and Consumer group's revenue grew 8 percent year over year in the last calendar quarter of 2014, thanks in no small part to healthy Surface and Xbox sales. It's not revealing shipment numbers for the Surface, but it notes that revenue for the slate computers shot up 24 percent versus a year earlier, thanks in no small part to the Surface Pro 3.

  • Twitter's Bing-powered translations are back

    by 
    Richard Lawler
    Richard Lawler
    01.23.2015

    Twitter's great for connecting its users to people from around the world, but what about when they don't speak the same language? After testing out a solution in fits and starts, Twitter has officially introduced Bing-powered translations right in the feed. Of course, if you've ever relied on machine-translation (and if you've worked the late shift on a tech site, you definitely have) you know the results can vary in quality, but it's usually enough to get the gist of what's being said. It's definitely easier than copying characters back and forth, so until you actually crack open that copy of Rosetta Stone, just look for the globe icon and "translate this" button. (If it's not there, make sure "Show Tweet translations" box is checked in your account settings).

  • Bing now recommends best-sellers for you to read

    by 
    Mariella Moon
    Mariella Moon
    01.09.2015

    If you need recommendations for your one-person book club, because you'd rather not join an actual one (even if it was founded by a social media mogul), hit up Bing. Microsoft's search engine now displays a carousel of book titles and cover pages (which looks just like Google's ticker, as you can see above) when you trigger specific key phrases. To be precise, it takes data from The New York Times weekly and monthly best-seller lists and displays them in a more visually appealing way within the search results page. Clicking on a title displays its synopsis, ratings and links where you can buy a copy, of course, otherwise it's just a pretty ticker filled with cover art. You can try it out yourself by searching "best-selling fiction," "nonfiction best-sellers," "best-selling kids' books" or "current times best business books," though the feature might (unfortunately) not work if you're outside the US.

  • Bing and Yahoo went down but hackers weren't to blame

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    01.03.2015

    Notice that Bing and Yahoo searches were down earlier today? Or maybe Siri and Cortana? No, it wasn't the result of a hack -- it was something less nefarious according to Reuters' sources. Apparently Microsoft issued a bad code update and then couldn't hit CRTL+Z fast enough once it went live. This caused a bit of a domino effect, it'd seem: Because Redmond's roll-back didn't work, it had to turn off groups of linked servers to get back to the point where things were working as they did pre-crash. Since Bing powers Yahoo searches, that caused things on Yahoo's end to go on the fritz because of the backlog of search requests that populated when the problem was resolved, Reuters notes.

  • Microsoft updates Bing iOS apps with fresh look and translations

    by 
    Mel Martin
    Mel Martin
    12.19.2014

    Microsoft continues its make nice to Apple with a solid update to the Bing Search app for iOS. There are separate versions for the iPad and iPhone. The GUI has been slightly reworked, and the biggest feature is a translation option for any content you have brought up with Bing. You can set a language in the app settings, but the default is set to translate to English. I tested the feature on some German and Swedish websites and got understandable English, but like most on-the-fly translations it was quirky. Useful: Yes. Perfect: No. Compared to the Google app for iOS, Bing is much richer. and on the iPad in particular, it is more polished and easier to navigate. Both apps support voice input. Google has translation apps, but not integrated to its iOS search app the way it is on this new version of Bing Search. One interesting feature in Bing is a lasso tool to circle text on a page -- Bing will then find content related to that text. This feature was handy and worked well. Maps are nicely integrated, and bookmarks can be synched between your devices if you have a free Microsoft sign-in. On the iPhone, navigating the interface is not as easy. Many buttons and controls are hidden until you tap in the right place, usually at the top of the page. Both iOS apps have the same functionality, but the iPad version is just easier to use and navigate. Bing also adds trending stories and the Photo of the Day to your Today Notifications. Next year, Apple's deal with Google making it the default search option in Safari runs out, and Microsoft seems to be working hard to replace Google. Yahoo is also in the running, and we are seeing a lot of app refreshes from Yahoo too. The iOS Bing apps are quite good and full-featured. I still sometimes find the Google search superior in terms of relevant results, but Bing is coming up fast and organizes the results it finds in a more useful way. The Bing apps require iOS 7 or greater. The iPhone version is optimized for the newer iPhone 5 and 6 series of phones. Bing Search is a worthwhile adjunct to Google's search app, and some will prefer Bing for its look and added features.

  • Bing puts contact info and directions atop searches for easy access

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    12.08.2014

    Google has been keen on serving up addresses, phone numbers and directions at the top of its search results to make things much easier. And now, Bing is doing the same. Microsoft's search engine will display all of those important contact details, as well as an easy link to navigation info, ahead of the usual list of findings. This means that next time you hunt for the nearest Ruth's Chris, the stuff you're really after will show up first. Need to sort directions? Typing "distance to" ahead of the address will provide just that alongside travel time and turn-by-turn steps. You can do the same for a restaurant or bar's hours, too.

  • Microsoft's Android voice search app now works without a watch

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    12.05.2014

    Microsoft's Torque is handy if you want to search the web through a quick shake of the wrist and a voice command, but you've had to use an Android Wear smartwatch to try the Bing-powered app. That's not much help if your wrist is bare, is it? You won't have sit on the sidelines any longer, though. A revamped version of Torque now runs on any reasonably modern Android phone (4.3 or later), no wearable required; you only have to shake your phone to bring up a mini window and start speaking. The app also provides streamlined answers for more of your questions, including flight statuses and events. Torque is still a bit superfluous when Android is virtually built around Google search, but it's worth a look if you can't (or just don't want to) use "OK Google" to get a quick answer.

  • European Union tells search sites how to handle your 'right to be forgotten'

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    11.29.2014

    When the European Union first put the "right to be forgotten" into effect, it didn't really give search sites much help. Should search listings disappear simply because they're embarrassing? What if you're a notable figure? At last, though, there are some clearer answers. The European Commission has published guidelines that tell search providers how to handle your takedown requests. For the most part, the recommendations line up with what Google has been doing so far. Websites have to balance your privacy demands against the public's rights; a search firm can pull details of your personal life, for instance, but it can refuse to hide criminal convictions or your official work record.

  • Microsoft rolls out Bing Maps traffic guesstimation worldwide

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    11.26.2014

    Bing Maps users outside the US will now have a better idea of how long it takes to get from A to B, as Microsoft has just launched Clearflow traffic estimation around the world. The system works by taking live traffic data for main roads and surface streets, then extrapolating it to unreported routes. That differs drastically from Google's approach, in which speed and position data is sent from each Maps user's device to estimate live traffic conditions. Google relies on strength in numbers of its Android (and Maps) ecosystem, which Microsoft lacks -- but Bing Maps uses Nokia's well-regarded Navteq traffic system. Whichever you use, you're now more likely to duck traffic and arrive at the ball on time.

  • Microsoft and Yahoo vie for control of Safari's search

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    11.25.2014

    Mozilla is making the switch to Yahoo search from Google for its default option in the US, and Apple's browser deal will soon be up for renewal, too. The Information reports that Mayer & Co. are in play there as well, and of course, Microsoft is pitching Bing to the folks in Cupertino -- mainly senior VP of internet software and services Eddy Cue. The latter search engine already sorts Siri's questions, and Apple made the move to swap in local query option Baidu in China for Safari's default method of scanning the web. Yahoo search is powered by Bing, so coupling that with the fact that it's already the go-to option for some of Apple's services wouldn't make it too much of a stretch for Redmond's effort to replace Google. And there's Cupertino's continued efforts to tamp down on its reliance on Mountain View, too. [Photo credit: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for City Of Hope]

  • Bored with words? Bing now lets you search using emoji

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.28.2014

    Now that you can communicate solely in emoji and even track your daily activities that way, it stands to reason that you should get to search the web using those tiny pictures, doesn't it? Microsoft certainly thinks so. Bing's search engine now understands emoji, saving you the (admittedly pretty minor) trouble of typing out whole words. It's not just about convenience, though. The search will help you understand emoji you don't understand, and you can find Easter eggs like the Konami code if you're imaginative. So long as you're in an English-speaking country, you can try this icon-driven search today.

  • Microsoft Android Wear app lets you search Bing by twisting your wrist

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.22.2014

    Slightly irked that you have to say "OK Google" whenever you want to use voice search on your Android Wear smartwatch? Microsoft, of all companies, is coming to your rescue. The developer is leading a trio of experimental Android releases with Torque, an app that lets you start a Bing search just by twisting your wrist; you only have to speak when you're asking your question. You'll get optimized output for certain kinds of search results, including maps, stocks and weather.