It's Friday! Bing, Social Media and Democracy

Friday: The Week in Search

Microsoft releases its new search engine and Chinese residents may have to say goodbye to Twitter. 

Microsoft Receives Compliments and Criticisms for Bing

I'll admit it, I'm skeptical about Bing's future, but Microsoft's new search service has been receiving a lot of buzz since its release. They even have their own You Tube channel that's received almost 7,000 views to date. And as long as we're being honest, their commercials aren't so bad. Check it out:



Microsoft is presenting its new search service as a "decision engine." According to their press release, "Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience with a new approach to user experience and intuitive tools to help customers make better decisions." The irony is that Bing is advertising its services on Google. I did a meta keywords search for "cheap flights" and there's Bing, sponsored result # 5 telling me I can "make informed choices with Bing." I'm intrigued...

Here's what the experts are saying:

  • Search Engine Journal: Microsoft's Bing Falsifies Site Data to Increase Click Through Rate
    • The obvious backlash of this strategy is that if Bing makes a habit of manipulating page titles then they run the risk of weakening the quality of their results of by giving a false impression of relevancy to the user.
  • Search Engine Roundtable: Most of Bing's Tools are From Live Search
    • It is exciting and new, but much of the press around Bing is calling old features new, when they are not new
  • Click Z: Microsoft Hopes Bing's Richer Results Will Drive Ad Dollars

Have you tried Bing? What do you think of it? 

Social Media and Democracy

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the tragedy at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. In an effort to reduce discussion of the event or any similar protests, Chinese authorities shut down many popular websites, including Hotmail, Flickr and Twitter. Their action was discussed in publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and there have been some interesting blog posts and comments discussing the issue. Here are my favorites:

  • You Can't Just Stuff Social Media Down a Rabbit Hole: Catharine Taylor's post takes an optimistic stance on the potential impact of social media on censorship. As more and more social tools emerge, will China be able to keep up with them all?
  • Michael Anti: Enjoy Twitter While it Lasts: A well-known Chinese blogger whose blog was removed for content, Antil has spent time in the US studying at Harvard. In this interview, he predicts it's only a matter of time before Twitter goes the way of YouTube.
  • Twitter Blocked by Great Wall of China: In this Search Engine Watch post, Frank Watson asks what happens to Twitter if a third of the world's population can't access it.

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