Microsoft may have silently killed its Scroogled ad campaign (updated)

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With the introduction of a new CEO and a few personnel shifts, Microsoft is definitely making some changes, but along with its corporate restructuring, the company appears to have a new take on marketing as well. Derrick Connell, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of Bing recently stated during an online Q&A session that the company was done with its highly publicized Scroogled ad campaign.

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College Humor’s “If Google Was a Guy” [Video]

College Humor is back by popular demand with a yet another look at the far too realistic personification of the search engine in the sequal to its “If Google Was a Guy” video. Certain questions prompt a camera appearance by the ominous NSA. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Bing makes a guest appearance as a pristine but vacant office employee. The parallels drawn are undeniable. Watch it below: Read more

What effect will Apple’s choice of Bing for Siri in iOS 7 have on Google?

Microsoft must be pretty happy with Apple’s decision to include Bing as the default search engine powered web results in Apple’s revamped Siri application heading to iOS 7 this fall. However, what does this all mean for Google? It could very well signal Apple’s increasing desire to cut its reliance on services powered by its biggest competitor in the smartphone space.

Before iOS 7, searching for something with Siri would often turn up the option to search for web results. Doing so would give you results through Safari using your default search engine (which by default is set to Google). Now, in iOS 7, web results will be displayed right in the Siri app, however, they will be powered by Microsoft’s Bing– and not Google.  Read more

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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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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Bing launches final redesign, says users prefer site over Google

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new style that looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface, but today the Redmond, Wash.-based Company branched from the design and announced a host of new features.

The redesign is still very Google-esque, but the notable aspect to this change is that Microsoft is continuing to make jabs at its primary competitor all the while conducting an obvious rip-off. The Windows-maker even detailed to users in a Bing blog post that its search relevance and quality surpassed Google’s when all signs of branding were removed from the search engines’ homepages:

From the outset, we knew that serving relevant results that were equal to or better than the other guy was table stakes. To track our progress, we conducted tests that removed any trace of Google and Bing branding. When we did this study in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google. The same unbranded study now shows that Bing Search results now have a much wider lead over Google’s. When shown unbranded search results 43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results. What this means is that in 3 years we’ve made some real progress in core relevance and search quality, and while search is becoming so much more than just web results, having a rock solid foundation is important for the future of Bing and search more generally.

Screenshots are available below.

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DuckDuckGo blows up as privacy-conscious alternate to Google; Nears 1.5M daily queries, upgrades system

DuckDuckGo entered the search engine game in 2008, and it is averaging almost 1.5 million average direct queries per day and announcing system upgrades less than four years later.

The technology is simple: DuckDuckGo gathers results from crowd-sourced websites, such as Wikipedia and direct-competitor Bing, to display a host of search findings. It started as a privacy-conscious alternative to Google.

The chart to the right illustrates DuckDuckGo’s momentum. It just passed the 1 million mark last month, jumping from 630,441 average daily queries in January 2011 to 1,041,493 in February. Current calculations place the search engine at 1,468,690 average daily queries.

Due to the search engine’s success, Founder Gabriel Weinberg announced two major projects underway today that include better programming and speed. The company is even open sourcing more heavily and improving entry points.

“For speed, just this week we upgraded our whole caching system, which should significantly speed up a lot of queries,” wrote Weinberg on Hacker News. “This change should equalize a lot of the location differences, which is the main issue. In some parts of the world we were way slower.”

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Report: Google plans to reinvent search by understanding words

Google is reinventing its Web-search technique with direct information for queries to better maintain the majority market share.

The Wall Street Journal said Google aims to replace some Web links with summarized answers and facts. The search formula transition will roll out over the next few months as the search engine begins to merge relevant results with semantic search, which attempts to understand the meaning of words versus keyword identification. One source said the change could influence 10 percent to 20 percent of all search queries.

Under the new strategy, a search for “Mount Everest” will display key attributes, such as the mountain’s location, altitude, or geographical history, aggregated from Google-indexed websites. Longer queries might uncover a real answer instead of links to websites. For example, the question “What are the 10 largest mountains in the United States?” would subsequently reveal a list of mountains and not ambiguous links to various state parks or hikers’ fan pages.

Google’s top executive Amit Singhal told WSJ that the new search results are the product of hundreds of millions of “entities” stored in a database. The company’s Metaweb team of 50 engineers painstakingly gathered particulars on people, places, and things over the last two years to build an immense collection for associating different words through semantic search.

More information is available below.

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Report: FTC includes social network Google+ in antitrust probe; EPIC urges FTC to watch search changes

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its antitrust probe of Google to include the inspection of social network service Google+, according to Bloomberg.

The publication sourced two people “familiar with the situation,” and cited “competition issues raised by Google+” as the primary aspect of the FTC’s investigation into whether the globally popular search engine gives preference to its own services. The FTC is also inquiring whether such practices violate antitrust laws, according to Bloomberg, who could not identify its sources due to the investigation’s nonpublic status.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company rolled out “Search, Plus Your World” to its search engine Jan. 10 and dubbed the revision a “personal results” feature that displays Google+ photographs, news and comments when user’s conduct Web searches. The Electronic Privacy Information Center promptly called upon the FTC on Jan. 12 to investigate the recent search changes in a letter posted on its website…

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Google allegedly tripled minimum Firefox search revenue guarantee to $1B

It looks like Google tripled its spending to keep its search engine the default choice in Mozilla’s Firefox browser. The usually well-connected Kara Swisher reportedt on the AllThingsD blog that Google had to up its spending, because the other contenders, namely Microsoft and Yahoo, were looking to replace the default Google.com choice in Firefox with their own search products.

It is worth noting that Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Microsoft’s technology. Furthermore, although Chrome recently surpassed Firefox as the second most frequently used browser in key markets, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer remains the leading web browser. The Windows maker also teamed with Mozilla on the “Firefox with Bing” initiative a few months ago. It is reasonable to assume that all those factors combined have led Google to outspend its rivals to keep its search engine the default choice in the Firefox browser.

According to Swisher:

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