Newsletter Archives

  • All in on AI

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    ISSUE 20.20 • 2023-05-15


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    On May 4, Microsoft announced the “next wave of AI innovation.”

    Well, we’ll see about that.

    There was no parade, nor any hoopla associated with this announcement. The entirety of the presentation was in a single blog post, which might have gone unnoticed had I not received an email from a Microsoft spokesperson telling me about it. That was unusual.

    But that’s not the news.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.20.0, 2023-05-15).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Why is Bing worse than Google for finding Windows info?


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Microsoft’s Bing search engine has a small but growing market share — chipping away at Google’s 90% dominance worldwide — but the Redmond software giant’s Web crawler can be surprisingly weak in showing you helpful Windows information from technology websites other than

    There are thousands of blogs and newsletters that post every possible factoid about Windows, from the fluffiest corporate press releases to obscure technical features you’ve never dreamed of.

    So what might explain the inadequacy of Redmond’s favorite search engine to deliver the Windows info users need to know?

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.45.0, 2022-11-07).

  • Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?

    Is this “Office as a Service,” or just another poorly worded Microsoft announcement?

    I’m getting lots of questions about a bizarre but official post from ‘Softie Daniel Brown entitled Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus. In it, Microsoft seems to be saying that everyone who installs the latest patch for Office 365 ProPlus will have their default search engine in Google Chrome changed to Bing.

    Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser. This extension will be installed with new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus are updated.

    Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

    By making Bing the default search engine, users in your organization with Google Chrome will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Search, including being able to access relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar. Microsoft Search is part of Microsoft 365 and is turned on by default for all Microsoft apps that support it.

    First of all, “Version 2002” is Microsoft’s incredibly stupid way of saying the February 2020 update to Office 365 Pro Plus. It’ll be available to the bleeding edge in February, but normal folks (on the “Semi-Annual Channel branch,” you gotta love the terminology) won’t see it until July.

    After the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing is installed, your users will see a Welcome screen. For example, the Welcome screen in Google Chrome looks similar to this:

    Can they do that?

    Not all devices with Version 2002 or later will receive the extension right away. That’s because we’re gradually rolling out this change, first to new installations and then to existing installations. So if you’re installing or updating to Version 2002 or later, and the extension isn’t installed, that is probably expected and not necessarily an error. It’s likely a future installation or update will install the extension and set Bing as the default search engine for Google Chrome.

    That’s either the worst Microsoft announcement I’ve seen this year — or it’s an incredible overstepping of antitrust proportions that deserves fire and brimstone.

    Do you read the announcement any differently? Is this perhaps an opt-in kind of thing, where you have to activate the extension (which is dirty pool, too, don’t get me wrong)? Or is Microsoft going to roll out Bing as the default search engine in Chrome for everybody who’s getting Office ProPlus … as a Service, of course.

    UPDATE: Catalin Cimpanu, over at ZDNet, is under the impression that this is for real — that Office 365 ProPlus will hijack your Chrome browser search engine. He goes over MS’s published methods for preventing the hijacking.

    Where’s the outrage? Or is this the new normal?

  • Hoffman: Bing results are racist, antisemitic, pedophiliaic, conspiratorial

    I didn’t believe it until I tried some of the searches myself. Google comes up clean, but Bing barfs big-time.

    Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek: Bing Is Suggesting the Worst Things You Can Imagine

    Microsoft has a responsibility to clean up Bing. A major search engine (and especially one that is increasingly becoming a harder-to-turn-off default built into Windows 10) shouldn’t be suggesting its users search for racist garbage and images of underage children.

    Wonder if Satya has seen this? Bing’s come a long way since he was in charge.

  • Search engine market share – Bing and Yahoo neck-and-neck

    Add this to the long list of things I didn’t know.

    A tweet from @teroalhonnen led me to poke around the usage statistics for web search engines. Of course, Google’s far out in front. But I didn’t realize that Bing and Yahoo are neck-and-neck. Yahoo, for heaven’s sake.

    Statcounter says in July, Google ran 92% of market share, Bing was 2.55% and Yahoo 2.23%.

    The big Chinese search engine Baidu (which is probably underrepresented in the results) came in at 1.44% and Russian giant Yandex (also likely underrepresented) was 0.89%. Remember that Statcounter only tallies hits on web sites that it monitors, and, unlike Netmarketshare, doesn’t try to jiggle the figures for parts of the world that it doesn’t cover so well.

    Bing’s been on a downhill spiral for the past five years. In July 2012, its share stood at 2.96%. In July 2014, it ran all the way up to 3.84%. Last month’s 2.55% was the lowest score ever.

    This in spite of the fact that Bing’s the default search engine — and bloody difficult to change — on Edge in particular, and all versions of Windows 10 in general.

  • Cortana should be dancing in the streets

    Qi Lu leaves, Cortana and Bing to Shum, Office and Pall’s Skype go to Jha: This morning saw a breathtaking push to put Cortana in the driver’s seat.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Cortana now restricted to Edge and Bing: It’s the clicks, stupid

    Likely the #1 way for Microsoft to make money off Windows 10.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

  • Windows 10 search and Bing

    Fascinating mail from AA:

    I am a reluctant Windows 10 user (at work).

    Bing searchWhen I use the Windows 10 search box at work, the default view when I click the box is to see a bunch of tiles about what is “popular now”.  To me this a distraction, so I typed the following string into the search panel:    “dont show bing news in search panel windows 10”.

    When my browser pops up (Chrome, with Google search set as its default search tool, but ignored in this case), I get a very Bing-centric set of responses, but no answers.



    If I open my browser on my own, and perform the same search directly, I get a very different (and more useful) response.

    Google Search

    This is not a gripe about how disable Bing – I know how to do that now.    But it’s disappointing to know that Bing’s answers are seemingly adulterated.  Sigh.

    As always, thanks for being a voice of sanity in the land of Windows.

  • Want to work on Bing?

    Have I got an Easter Egg for you.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • Note to Satya Nadella: Bing needs you

    If you look at US market share, Bing (and its partner in arms, Yahoo) have a respectable 30% share of the search engine market. But that share has gone nowhere in the past year.

    Internationally it’s a different story. Bing’s hit a whopping 3.9% share, and it’s not headed anywhere soon.

    Why? Several possibilities. See my InfoWorld Tech Watch post.

  • Google’s US search market share increases, but the rules changed

    Last month I wrote about Bing stealing Yahoo search market share, and explained why that didn’t mean much: as of August 24, the Bing engine effectively replaced the Yahoo search engine, so even if you see Yahoo on the screen, the results and the marketing oomph go to Microsoft.

    This month, comScore reports an important change. According to their just-released report, Google’s U.S. market share went up from 65.4% in August to 66.1% in September. At the same time, Bing/Yahoo declined from 28.5 to 27.9%.

    While the numbers seem impressive, you have to take them with more than a dash of salt. comScore changed the way it counts searches, in response to Google’s new Instant Search technology (which some wags note isn’t all that new, but I digress).

    As Cameron Meierhofer on the comScore blog explains,

    [T]he comScore panel provides visibility into all events that a user is conducting and all the HTTP calls associated with the user’s actions. Based on this insight, we have developed a priority scoring system that allows us to identify search results with explicit user action and interstitial results with a sufficiently long pause to suggest some level of implicit engagement.

    If that sounds like a situation just begging to mess up search site usage scores, you’re right. In the end, comScore punted, assigning an arbitrary time-out period of three seconds, “Query result pages without explicit user action, but with a pause of at least 3 seconds, are considered as indicating ‘implicit’ engagement and will count towards Total Core Search.”

    As a dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon, I have to wonder out loud if comScore chose that three second threshhold before or after they saw the statistics for September.

    Any way, it’s a new race from this point on, and it’ll be interesting to see how Google and Microsoft fare. We won’t really be able to compare apples to apples until the October results are out.

    And, of course, the really important numbers in the long run are for mobile search. But that’s another story.


  • Bing at 10.7 percent and growing fast

    Cnet News reports that Microsoft’s new emphasis on search is paying off. In August, Bing’s market share is pegged at 10.7%. Of course you need to take the numbers with a big grain of salt, but the fact is that Microsoft’s in a very strong position to get Bing going – fast.

    In August, Google increased to 64% of the market, and Yahoo fell to 16%. Makes  you wonder if MS is having second thoughts about its pursuit of Yahoo.

    Regardless, Microsoft is going to keep chomping up market share, simply because Internet Explorer 8 (and, thus, Wiundows 7) use Bing as the default search engine. Regardless of the technical merits, simple apathy counts for much.