Bing’s Breaking News Dilemma

July 3rd, 2009 at 12:00 am

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Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine, has certainly been able to catch quite an attention among online users. Said to be a better version of the previous MSN Live Search, Bing is set out to compete with both Google and Yahoo for a share of the lucrative search engine market. But it seems there is still some room for improvement seen for Bing when it comes to handling breaking news stories.

The recent news of Michael Jackson’s death certainly would attest to this. Right by the time that the news first broke on June 24, the Web underwent a surge of traffic activity concerning information of Michael Jackson’s death. The surge was so great that even Google thought that it was an attack on their servers. Suddenly search traffic concerning Michael Jackson begin to increase further that search engines begin to have the King of Pop as top results for breaking news. The same was not seen on Bing.

Bing News did not offer the same results as the other search engines in that Michael Jackson’s death did not immediately go on top their search rankings despite the surprising surge in traffic. Although Microsoft and Bing has also recently also acknowledged that their servers also experienced the sudden surge in traffic, the ranking algorithm that Bing uses may not have been able to determine Michael Jackson’s death as worthy of taking the top spot in the searches. Bing has the news at the bottom of the first page results.

The people at Bing has since also acknowledged that they would need to improve how their search engine handles breaking news. They would need to focus more on how to accommodate user interest in the event of a surge of traffic for news.

In the Bing search engine, it is usually the images of celebrities such as Jackson that users initially see when searching for them. But Bing also has a switch called "news go big" that can change the usually top results and putting the news stories first in the event of a major news breakout such as what happened on the day of Michael Jackson’s death. Consider it a learning experience for Bing. Such improvements would be much needed if they ever would want to mount a challenge to Google enough for people to take them seriously.