Bing vs. Google: Competition gets turned up on April Fool’s Day (Video)

While Google has played several light-hearted April Fool’s jokes today, Microsoft’s search engine Bing took things to the next level by pretending to be Google.

To see the somewhat harsh joke, go to Bing’s website and then search for “Google.” A Google-like search page will appear with the header “Bing.” The fake search page features floating squares that criticize Google, but it most notably changed Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to “I’m Feeling Confused” with link to a blog post that fully explains the joke. 

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According to Bing.com’s blog:

So today we’re running a special test, where if you visit bing.com and enter a certain telltale query, you’ll get something a little more bland. We decided to go back to basics, to the dawn of the Internet, to reimagine Bing with more of a 1997, dial-up sensibility in mind. We may see some uptick in our numbers based on this test, but the main goal here is just to learn more about how our world would look if we hadn’t evolved.

So, Microsoft has basically slammed Google’s look and deemed it dated. Yeah. Way to keep things light, Redmond. Don’t worry, though: Google has lashed back.

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Google adds Phrasebook feature to Google Translate

Google-Translate-Phrasebook

There were hints late last month that Google was planning on adding new features to Google Translate and today the company announced a new feature for the service called Phrasebook. Rather than having to translate the same words and phrases time and time again, Phrasebook allows users to save a set of translations for quick and easy access. Google explained how the features works:

It’s easy to start using Phrasebook. Simply click the star under the translated text to save the translation in your Phrasebook. To view your Phrasebook, simply click the Phrasebook icon above the upper-right corner of the box containing the translation.

Click any phrase in your Phrasebook to load it back in the translation area. Using the Phrasebook controls, you can filter your phrases by language pair or search for a specific phrase. You can also easily listen to each phrase by hovering over the entry and selecting the text-to-speech icons.

Google could soon be adding more features to Translate as last month hints were discovered that Google is working on an option to select a dialect for certain languages in its text-to-speech feature within Google Translate. There were also additional dictionary features that have yet to be implemented.

Google testing enhanced ‘Flight Explorer’ flight search service

Google-flight-explorer

As noticed by TNW, Google appears to be testing a new flight search service that differs from its Google Flights offering launched in September of last year. In our tests, the service, dubbed “Flight Explorer”, is fully accessible through http://www.google.com/flights/explorer, indicating this might be an upcoming refresh of the Google Flights service. Upon navigating to the Flight Explorer page, Google automatically detects your location for the “From” category and selects what appears to be the next closest country in the “To” section.

The service also provides some improvements over Google’s old flights search, allowing users to select the trip length with a slider under their destination, as well as a number of filters along the top, including: Stops, Airline, Duration, Outbound time, and Return Time. While the service appears to be ready to go, clicking links for any flights that show up in the results takes you to a familiar Google Flights page currently. We expect to hear more about Google’s new Flight Explorer service soon.

Google exec reveals Incentive Targeting acquisition

Google just acquired coupon firm and platform Incentive Targeting.

The deal closed for an unknown amount at this time, but 9to5Google contacted Google for a comment, as the last unconfirmed —and false—acquisition created quite a stir in the tech blogosphere, and will update accordingly.

TechCrunch first noted that Mike Dudas, Google’s emerging business lead for mobile commerce, confirmed the news today via a Tweet on Twitter, and he further revealed the buyout will “power highly targeted manufacturer and private label coupon programs.”

Update: A Google spokesperson just confirmed the acquisition to 9to5Google:

“We look forward to working with Incentive Targeting in our ongoing efforts to help consumers save time and money and enable retailers deliver relevant discounts to the right customers.”

The full press release posted to Incentive Targeting’s website is below.

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Bing compares Google Shopping to Ebenezer Scrooge in ‘Don’t Get Scroogled’ campaign

Microsoft loves to launch ad campaigns against its No. 1 enemy, Google, and now it is embarking on yet another for Christmastime, called “Don’t Get Scroogled“, that places the Google Shopping experience under a microscope.

Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, lambasted Google today and alerted consumers of Mountain View’s pay-to-rank system for shopping results. Here’s an excerpt from the “Don’t Get Scroogled: Bing Launches Campaign for Honest Search to Help Shoppers this Holiday Season” blog post on Bing’s community website:

“Specifically, we want to alert you to what Google has done with their shopping site right in time for Christmas. Instead of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for the latest coffee maker you’re looking to buy mom, Google Shopping now decides what to show you – and how prominently to display what product offers they show — based partially on how much the merchant selling the product has paid them. Merchants can literally pay to improve their chances to display their product offers higher than others inside of Google’s shopping “search,” even if it’s not better or cheaper for the consumer. The result of this new “pay-to-rank” system is that it’s easy for consumers to mistake an ad for an honest search. That’s not right, it’s misleading. It’s not what you expect from search, and it’s not how we at Bing think search engines should help consumers get the best prices and selection when shopping.”

The Redmond, Wash.-based search engine basically said shoppers who use Google for their shopping searches are “getting ‘Scroogled’ when they should be getting fair, honest, open search.” Bing then compared Google Shopping to Ebenezer Scrooge and noted, “We think consumers should be aware what they’re seeing when they’re shopping online and to understand, without any hidden text or traps, the fine print of what their ‘search engine’ actually searches.”

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