And I bing unto you huge name confusion

A short rant by Dean Robinson resulted in me going off on one of my own about Microsoft’s new search venture, Bing. I couldn’t resist but comment with some of my own thoughts, and by the time I’d finished commenting I figured I may as well adapt the original comment and throw it out there as a blog post in it’s own right.

My Thoughts on Bing

It really hasn’t impressed at all. What’s worse is that it’s a branding nightmare. Microsoft have completely cocked up their web activity branding over the past few years. They can’t make up their mind who they are. Are they MSN? Are they Live? Are they Bing?

If you go to bing.com and want to do a map lookup you get taken to the immensely shit multimap.com. Go to maps.live.com and you get forwarded to bing.com/maps – what’s this all about. Which system am I meant to use?

Microsoft Live Windows Bing Hotmail

What about Live Mail, which became Windows Live Hotmail, which integrated with Windows Live Mail on the desktop which confused the hell out of everyone. Am I a [email protected] user, or should I be logging in with an @hotmail.com account. Going to www.hotmail.com forwards to mail.live.com (after redirecting you to login.live.com). It’s all so completely retarded.

Microsoft Bing Ciao

Go shopping on ciao.co.uk, not shopping.bing.com, where it says Ciao! (from bing) and if you want to use it you have to create a Ciao account. Go to your Live profile and do a search, the default is the Live “people” search, but use that same search box from your Live Hotmail account and you get dropped into bing.com, oh, and I’m no longer signed in. Click sign in to get redirected around various MSN or Live passport type things before coming back to Bing.

Microsoft Bing Community (Live)

Heard of Bing Community? Nope, that’s hidden away in extras if you do a search. What is it? I’ve no idea:

“Welcome to the Microsoft Bing Community – Remember, don’t post your personal information”

Don’t post my personal information about what? What is Microsoft Bing Community? Where does it all fit on? Should I link to my Windows Live Spaces (bing)?

The worst branding nightmare imaginable

This is a PR company/marketing person’s nightmare.

Also, if you change your country location (my default was United Kingdom) to Ireland and suddenly you can no longer search for videos, shopping or maps, they’re just gone. Clearly Irish people don’t have fast enough net connections to watch videos online.

It’s a total disaster. Microsoft need to work out their identity issues and damn quick. No one has a clue what they’re meant to go to any more. Of course, both Live and Bing are poor names to begin with, but I think Live is probably a little better than Bing (which has an absolutely awful logo by the way). However, it doesn’t matter, cause they’ve allocated $100,000,000 to pound this name into people’s heads until a few years down the line they’re going to change it all to be something like Microsoft Live Mesh Windows Search (now with extra Bing).

What about the search?

Ok, I should mention as well that I’m not overly impressed with the search results as well. I’ve done a few comparitive searches and they’re just not hitting the mark right at all. Whilst there are a few nice touches – such as the infinite scrolling on image search, and the preview playing of video thumbnails, it’s definitely not enough to make me consider changing to use them on a daily basis.

I can’t resist mentioning the screen shot below. What’s up with this set of suggested searches – type “Linux” and get suggested “Linux Windows”, “Linux Microsoft”, “Linux Vista”. Are you trying to tell me that your suggestion engine is completely broken, or are you having a bit of a joke?

Bing Linux Suggestions

Bing Linux Suggestions

Why do I care?

Well I don’t really care – this is just a commentry. I don’t really use any of the Microsoft/Windows/Live/Bing web services, I’m not a MSN messenger user, I’ve no contacts with them etc, but I do keep an eye on web developments as a whole and boy has this one struck me as a momentous cock up.

Comments

  • steve

    i started a hotmail account years ago so i could have an msn login. i still use it via pidgin. blissfully unaware of any of this live stuff.

    haven't tried the bing search thing at all…. but i've quite enjoyed wandering around the birds eye view of dublin on bing maps. good coverage.. all the way out to where i live.

    but yeah.. it does all seem confusing.

  • Aye. It turns out I actually have two hotmail/live accounts. Which I totally didn't realise.

    Their maps stuff has some stuff which is better than Google Maps, but yeah, I don't even know if Live Maps (or bing.com/maps) is the same thing as Multimap.

    Yeah, mega confusing – and that's even for people with some web savvy!

  • I have several sites 5 years old or older. Signed up with Microsofts Bing in May 09 and pointed Bing to my sitemap.

    Hell, I'm a member of Technet and MS already know me.

    Thats right, MS has a list of site owners but didn't even look at it when creating their search fockup.

    I'm still waiting for their stupid attempt at search engine to actually VISIT MY SITE – Sept 09????

    Let alone index it…..

    Oh, I am number one in Google and most others SE if not front page, Bing doesn't know I EXIST??

    It might be better this way.

    Try again MS…

  • Bing is crap! I'm not a big one for marketing and names and all that stuff so I couldn't really care about the name "Bing" In fact, it sounds ok to me… But I don't have a gripe with the glitzy naming or promotion, what I care about is what's under the bonnet… And quite frankly, it is garbage!

    Every website I create get's instantly indexed in both Google and Yahoo, yet never gets indexed in Bing until I shout and scream in their community forums and Brett Yount manually adds it!

    How do they expect to be successful with this type of activity… And all the forum experts say "focus on building quality backlinks" – bullshit! I'm not asking to be number one…I'm asking to be indexed… a process that Yahoo and Google have no problem doing…I will focus on backlinks in my efforts to be at the top of the SERPs but that is secondary to just being listed!

    Think about it, a small business owner who is focussing energy on a website (growing numbers of businesses focussing efforts online)…
    I have a website and Bing doesn't index it…
    1. I'm never going to use Bing because it won't list my site
    2. I'm never going to tell anyone else to use Bing because they wont find me there

    They're shooting themselves in the foot by making getting listed so difficult!

    There is clearly a major issue with their index and it either can't keep up or is very buggy…

    Boo Bing!

  • Bulmer

    I agree whole heartedly with this post. I won't repeat you, but instead give you a nod that I scream with anger every time I have to check my hotbinglivemail at some point. I don't even remember why I had to a while back, but I did, and it was tough. Scrap the lot I say. Start fresh Microsoft, you're doing a terrible job at it.

  • Tony Rome

    I've just come upon this website and have read all the comments. I have to say that I don't think I've ever read such a concentrated collection of pointless, brainless rants in my life. Who are these people? "Bing is sh**" says one. Another one says "Bing is crap". How enormously inventive. Is this a 'Let's see how many alternative words we can come up with for the word defacate' game? Instead of wasting energy telling us all that you're not going to use Bing, why not just stop using it and try something else. Not only that, Hairdresser, try building up your business with word-of-mouth recommendations.

    In other words, all you wasters, shut up and get on with it

  • Hi Tony,

    I can't say I entirely agree with the focus of your comment here. Yes, someone does say "Bing is crap", but actually no one says "Bing is shit". In my post I did say that multimap was immensely shit, and, when I wrote this post nearly 2 years ago it really was the case. Multimap came nowhere close to the user-friendliness of Google Maps, or for that matter Live Maps.

    Amyway, I think it's a little unfair to suggest that the commenters are just trying to come up with as many variations on a theme of defecation as possible – if they were, then linguistically they failed.

    The main commenting theme here was that, from an indexing point of view, Bing wasn't cutting it. I didn't investigate that end of things extensively, so I can't state whether that was the case or not.

    As far as my original post was concerned, my main point throughout was an observation of how poorly the branding had been managed between successive attempts to consolidate services and bring everything together, as well as re-factor old brands – eg Live.

    I think Bing has come a long way in the near two years since it was launched and it's infinitely important to see competition in the search space. Microsoft are going to keep pushing at it and that's great. I'd love to see more players in the space who have a realistic chance of gaining some market share.

    That said, Microsoft, in my eyes, are still having difficulty with the branding end of things, but they're slowly getting there. Bing services nearly all maintain a bing.com domain (barring "Shopping" which still takes you off to ciao.co.uk). The Live/Bing product offerings have better delineation too – although I still think succumbing to user feedback and calling their webmail service "Windows Live Hotmail" was a branding mistake.

    Anyway, the important thing to remember is that, ignoring the fanbois, a lot of people would be quite happy to see strong competitors emerge in the search engine space, and whilst general ranting of 'This is shit' falls well short of constructive criticism, I see some people here stating genuine concerns about issues with indexing. I imagine a lot of these issues are cleared up now, and that's definitely for the greater good.

    I still don't think much of the name "Bing" though 😉

  • Tony Rome

    Thank you Alex Leonard. At last a sane voice in this insane world. Your reasoning was beautifully measured.

  • DB

    Sooo… In a nutshell… Bing is shit.

    Good old nutshell version of said 'Blah'

    Just my thoughts.

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  • B

    I wounder how much MS paid people in their commercials for Bing, or how they where able to find completely disfunctional people, much like their search engine.

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