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Google Tweaks Algorithm As Concern Over Bing Grows 397

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-have-the-technology-we-can-make-it-better dept.
SharkLaser writes "As Bing gets closer to capturing almost 33% of the market share in the U.S., Google has again made a large tweak to its algorithms to provide more up-to-the-minute search results. The change affects around 35% of queries and is intended to give users more recent news and stories. For breaking news stories the search engine will now weight more heavily the most recent coverage, and not just those sites that are linked the most, and for general terms the search engine values fresh content more than old. Google is hoping that these recent new changes will provide better search experience and stops users from switching over to Bing, which just recently launched its own GroupOn like site."
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Google Tweaks Algorithm As Concern Over Bing Grows

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  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:15AM (#37946098) Homepage Journal

    Who thinks this has anything to do with algorithms, as opposed to things like the "Bing Bar" coming preloaded on Windows 7?

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:18AM (#37946120)

      or if you do software updates on XP machines finding the default search engine swapped after the update

      • by fluffy99 (870997)

        Installing MS Office 2010 seems to switch your search engine to install the Bing add-on as well.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blackicye (760472) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:18AM (#37946122)

      Additionally, if you've tried to change the default IE search engine from Bing to Google or anything else, you'd see how they're achieving this.

      Chrome has 3 big buttons, Google, Yahoo, Bing. IE has obscured the setting for default search engine under several layers behind slow loading servers.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kervin (64171) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:28AM (#37946182) Homepage

        When I install or upgrade IE a popup asks me to choose my default search engine. It's true Bing is the default under "Express Settings", but you are given the choice.

        Everyone knows most users don't switch from defaults. Everyone, including Google who paid Mozilla to set them as the default search engine for years now. And I don't believe there's anything wrong with that either.

        • by jbengt (874751)

          When I install or upgrade IE a popup asks me to choose my default search engine.

          Never popped up for me. (note: in recent years, I've only use IE at work or when I've been forced to by IE specific web sites, and I'm in the good ol' USA, where the browser ballot was never required.)
          In any case, I do agree with somersault that Bing's increase in usage has much more to do with MS Windows monopoly and its' default settings.

          On another note, this change to the Google algorithms sounds like it will reduce the ef

        • by IICV (652597)

          It's a matter of pain.

          The more menus you make me sit through, the more it hurts. Keeping Bing as the default on Windows costs about 1 menu (accept the defaults) - switching to something else costs about three or four menus (it's been a while), plus you load up a slow-ass page that asks you to pick something out of a list of incomprehensible choices.

          At my last job, I actually saw people using Windows XP computers with the newest version of IE who hadn't actually sat through all those menus yet - every single

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

          by reilwin (1303589) on Friday November 04, 2011 @01:44PM (#37949914)
          Have you actually tried to find Google as a search provider for IE9? Last I tried it, Google wasn't even present until the list of search providers. Clicking on "see more" resulted in loading a webpage...again, without Google present. Using the search field present on that webpage to look for "Google" yields no results.

          If I recall, I finally got Google by searching on Bing for how to set up Google as the search provider for IE9. I ended up downloading an addon from Google which added it to the list of search providers in IE9.
        • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

          by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday November 04, 2011 @02:34PM (#37950572)

          If its set to bing, its a phenomenal PITA to switch-- Google isnt "built in", and you have to go to their "choose search provider" webpage, which has about a zillion search engines that noone cares about. And to even get there you have to navigate through internet options, under "programs".

          Its incredibly user-hostile, and theres no excuse for not including the largest search engine provider by default, even if its not set as the active one.

        • When I install or upgrade IE a popup asks me to choose my default search engine. It's true Bing is the default under "Express Settings", but you are given the choice.

          Chrome does it on the first run as well, but, interestingly enough, they used to disable it [chromium.org] in those markets where they run into significant competition (in this case, Russia, where the local search engine Yandex is dominant, and Google is a runner-up). They've since put the engine selector back [chromium.org] after Yandex raised a fuss about it.

      • I was helping a friend set up her new computer.

        She opened up Internet Explorer and noticed the default search engine was Bing.

        She tried to change the default search engine to Google.

        Her: Why is it taking so long to change the search engine?
        Me: Why not just download Google Chrome?

        Problem solved. :-)

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kervin (64171) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:31AM (#37946220) Homepage

      You mean just like Firefox defaulting to Google on millions of installs? Or how about Adobe Acrobat reader defaulting to installing Chrome ( which defaults to Google Search ) on 10s of millions of installs?

      Product tie-ins are a fact of life in the software industry.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      I install and use Windows 7. What's a Bing Bar? I've never seen it, but I assume you're talking about Windows Live Essentials that is a separate and optional download.

      • I fired up my new Asus UX31 last night and as part of the setup it forced me to accept the Bing bar before I could continue the installation. In the EULA it said "if you do not accept these terms, uninstall the Bing bar". Pretty silly. I made a point of enabling the "return my usage statistics to MS", searching for Google Chrome and then installing it, then uninstalling the Bing bar.

        Then again perhaps this was part of an MS deal with ASUS rather than something that happens on all Windows 7 SP1 installs.

    • by Siberwulf (921893)
      No Bing Bar on Win 7.....
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dunega (901960) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:50AM (#37946388)
      Uhh... "Bing Bar" doesn't come with Windows 7, not preinstalled at least. Unless you have some crap OEM putting it there for you.
    • Well Overall IE usage has dropped to under 50% [Citation] [cnn.com] So it may not be a major factor here. I think the issue is that Bing has reached a good enough stage. So the algorithm may just raise the bar up a bit. Competition is good.

    • The "Express Settings" that even us IT people use to avoid hassle is causing the search box to default to Bing. So, when on another machine, 33% of my searches go to Bing as well. But I do not like the results, unless I'm searching for Microsoft product downloads. I usually end up manually typing in www.google.com . For most people, setting Google as your homepage is enough. But in work environments, companies have their own homepages, which means the search box/address bar is king.

      At least Chrome give

    • by IICV (652597)

      If you look at the actual data, that's pretty well supported. Here's [searchengineland.com] an article from Sept 8 showing that searches from Bing.com are 12% of the search market, searches from yahoo.com are 15% of the search market, and it's only when you talk about the agglomeration known as "Bing powered search" that Bing even gets close to 33% of the search market.

      It seems like most people aren't really searching on Bing; they're searching on Google and Yahoo and their web browser, and occasionally Bing provides those result

    • Every time bing is the default on a computer I happen to be using, I invariably say to myself "well, surely its the same as google", and try my search thru bing. And when it fails to produce what Im looking for, I reword it again. By the third search attempt, I usually say "screw it, Im using Google", whereupon I immediately find what I was looking for.

      In fact, I just hit this today, where I was looking for a network throughput tester for windows. Google correctly found iperf for windows quickly, while b

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:16AM (#37946110)

    I think newer items is a great idea. Now, if the bring back the ability to use pluses and quotes to refine my search term, I might start using them again.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can still use quotes. The only reason the plus was removed (in favour of the quotation marks, which accomplish the same thing) is because it interfered with searching for Google+

    • by Rennt (582550)
      Quotes for a string? Works fine. Easy verification - do two searches for match this string once with and once without the quotes.
    • by jon3k (691256)
      NO! Sometimes I need to search for things with + signs in them. For example try searching for "+p+" or "+p" ammunition sometime.
  • I wonder what the numbers are in Europe, I don't know a single person who uses Bing and I barely know anyone non-technical who even knows what it is. Google is the standard here in the Netherlands, we we don't like to change things that are good.
  • It is always a win to the end user. Google would not have made any adjustments if there is no proper competition in the area. Look at MS how it turned out on Browser business. Even though I use google by default. Thanks to MS and Bing
  • simple fix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:29AM (#37946200)

    Stop listing garbage in the results. Placeholder pages in sites like cnet, link farms, fake review sites and pointless aggregation pages are all contributing to people getting fed up with google and looking at the alternatives. Google ruled the roost on quality, so the masses moved over to it, now it's mostly garbage in searches.

    • Re:simple fix (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:53AM (#37946414)
      Definitely for paywalled research indexing sites its quite annoying that Google pushes all the paywalled stuff to the top by matching to their summary, while the actual document (a pdf or ps) that you actually want to read can also be found non-paywalled at some *.edu but its nowhere to be found on the first page of results.
      • by Surt (22457)

        Yep. It has become absolutely clear that Google is now devoted to providing the most profitable search results rather than the best search results. The moment they went down that path they were doomed.

        • by yoshi_mon (172895)

          Doooooooooomed!

          Seriously, hyperbole much? Google has deep pockets, a lot of geeks, and a lot of infrastructure too. MS is indeed a 500lb gorilla but so is Google. Nobody is doomed at this point IT...well maybe HP, Nokia, and RIM but just them!

      • by laffer1 (701823)

        The worst of all is expert exchange. Any time I do a reasonable computer related search it comes up. I think google should hit those sites occasionally with a different user agent string and not list sites with special catered content. They could still follow robots.txt rules and never index anything in the verification hits. (just prune)

        This would get rid of this garbage.

    • Re:simple fix (Score:5, Interesting)

      by david.given (6740) <dg@cowl a r k .com> on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:44AM (#37946872) Homepage Journal

      I would like Google to actually search for the terms I asked for, and not what it thinks I should be asking for --- I fight that bloody autocorrect feature daily. Search for any programming term and chances are you'll get a tiny message saying 'Searching for FOO instead (unless you really meant BAR)', and then irrelevant search results.

      If you go look at their forums, they're full of complaints about this. Including people saying that their company name can't be found at all, because it gets autocorrected to something else if people try to search for it!

      I understand why this feature's there, but please, please, provide a way to turn it off...

    • by Pope (17780)

      That's Google's own damn fault. Their own Trends/Hot Trends and Zeitgeist "features" allowed spammers to see in almost real-time what people were searching for, and then create spamdexes for any terms that show up. Repeat across a few domains, cross-link, and voila! instant content-less link farm. I'm sure someone at Google thought Hot Trends would be clever to show, but they certainly didn't think anyone would game the system.

      And don't even get me started on the tools who run referrer plug-ins that say "Y

  • by hovelander (250785) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:49AM (#37946382)

    Perhaps their declining market share is because they are beginning to annoy their users. Things like their auto completion auto deleting things as you type and dropping the Boolean "+" operator. Those definitely piss me off and send me to Bing when it gets too frustrating.

  • Closer to what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ofni.hsifcitsalp>> on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:56AM (#37946446)

    As Bing gets closer to capturing almost 33% of the market share in the US...

    I'm sorry, was this actually intended to tell us anything? Other than that the submitter is apparently a marketroid / Bing fanboi?

    • by AdamJS (2466928)

      It's significant marketshare.
      Imagine if Microsoft managed to expand into Asian markets more successfully than Google.
      If they managed to break past the Great Wall of Internet Isolationism.
      Their marketshare would easily threaten Google's dominance.

      Anywho, I think the point is that MSN Search/MS Search/Live Search/Bing (same crap) is terrible and yet Google's blunders (because Yahoo is expected to blunder) have allowed MS to actually gain a meaningful foothold in a prime market in Google's bread and butter.

      I m

  • In the general listings unless I put in "purchase" "buy" "price" or something like that. I was looking up some tech specs on something that for some reason the manufacturer's website didn't have (or was buried so far I couldn't find it), and I think I found them on page 4 of the results after tons of used equip links.

    Yeah, yeah, business business. Split product research searches from product purchase searches already.

    • by cbope (130292)

      In my experience you were lucky to get a valid hit on the 4th page. I've tried to find product specifications and had to dig down through 10 or sometimes 20 pages of sellers or auction pages full of useless or inaccurate information.

      Same thing tends to happen if you search for " review", pages after pages of sellers and auction sites mostly, rather than legitimate review sites.

  • Turn off the damn instant search BS by default.
    I have yet to meet a single person who thinks it's a good idea.
    From the common man's eyes, it slows down and lags as you try to type
    From the eyes of nerds, it's a huge waste of bandwidth. I don't need to search s through slashdo, I just wanted to search slashdot.
  • One reason Google dominated for a long time was the austerity of the Google main page - compared to stupid MSN and Yahoo! the Google home page was clean and refreshing (and the doodles are cute.). When Yahoo! would take a good minute to load, Google was up and ready to search in five seconds. I think the advent of ubiquitous broadband and DNS prefetching and caching and the like has made novice PC users less likely to change to Google as their homepage, or to ask someone how to "make the Internet go faste
  • I find the quality of results from Bing is still very poor and dominated by link farms, a problem Google seems increasing avoiding.

  • Fuzzy Search Hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Friday November 04, 2011 @09:31AM (#37946746)
    When I'm searching I don't want Google guessing which words I really care about.

    This kinda thing is fine when it's just ignoring "the", "and", "a" or including plural terms but now they're leaving out nouns and adjectives if they're not common enough. It was annoying enough having to stick a + in front of every word, now they've got rid of + and replaced it with quotation marks which don't seem to force search results to contain that word quite so strictly.

    I'm constantly searching for rare, obscure films and books and it's annoying as hell getting results that have nothing to do with what I'm really searching for.

    Don't get me started on "the following terms only appear in links pointing to this page". When has that ever been useful except to owners of link farms and fake review sites?
    • The searches that don't show the words in the page are the most annoying. I search like a programmer (though I'm not one) because I learned searching on alta vista and previous search engines that required more careful queries and ordering. Natural language is great, but sometimes I want to be a bit more specific.

  • They've been acting like the YouTube management for a while now. Bring back my god damned "cached" option. No, not buried under a mobile/portrait-mode unfriendly side bar. I don't want to have to load your stupid previews. And remember my preferences for search dates, or at the very least, if I expand the option to see the dates one time, don't force me to expand every time hereafter and especially stop hiding it on your mobile version of the site. Oh Google, you had a great thing going for so long. And the
  • Every time I get Social Network results, or get Experts Exchange listed at the top of some .Net code search, I am one step closer to stop using Google search for good.

    Side topic: their current redesigning of all their pages is making me look for alternatives to all the services they provide I still use (mainly Reader and Gmail.) There is something very wrong when Hotmail and Yahoo offer more appealing web email interfaces than you.

    • I've gotten useful answers from expert sex change in the past - I just hit the cached link and scroll to the bottom for the answer. Sometimes it's crap, but as often as not there's something useful in there.

  • The Google search engine repeatedly gives me extraneous results. It has to be by design.

    When an honest, or more honest, search engine is available, I'll use it.

    Any suggestions?

  • Google has really gotten out of control. Their entire business shows this, externally it appears as if they are completely disconnected from department to department, and that interdepartmental communication is poor.

    It also "feels" like Google has little tyrants running around, pulling sections of departments in all sorts of weird directions.

    Why do I say these things? Well, searching is very annoying on Google now, if you actually know what you want.

    Often Google ignores quotes, providing responses as if t

  • Obviously is google so they'll probably do it right... but anyway: There's pages are seem to be updated every few seconds, with zero actual new content (maybe moving things around). For example, each time I look for some open source program filtering by date (last 24 hours) I'm getting results in softwaretopic.informer.com , regarding that program.

    So, if they want to focus on freshness of the information, removing 'rehashed' stuff is probably a lot better than just using whatever date is page says it's f
  • by Cloud K (125581) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:02AM (#37947086)

    Is to search for what I actually ask for. Don't search for what you *thought* I meant. Don't search for all those synonyms unless I ask you to. Just. Search. For. What. I. Typed. In. Dammit.

    I shouldn't have to force that by putting quotes around everything - it should be default, or at the very least a cookie.

    And also ban boardreader.com and all these other crappy sites that overtake the real discussion search results with their ads and middle man tactics.
    And those spam sites that somehow read your query and come back with "searching for {whatever I typed in}? Click here!"

    Please and thank you, and I will stop with my increasing habit of resorting to Bing (though that suffers from some of these things too but seems marginally better) to get my work done.

  • by JeremyGNJ (1102465) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:07AM (#37947146)
    Great, now all eHow has to do is write scripts to update their pages every day, and they will safely stay at the top of EVERY search result.
  • This is Crap! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChronoFish (948067) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:08AM (#37947158) Journal
    Here is the line to focus on:
    "Google is facing an increasing threat from Microsoft&rsquo;s Bing search engine, which is close to providing a third of all internet searches, either directly or via partners such as Yahoo."

    Without it's partners - Bing has crap:

    http://www.netmarketshare.com/
    Mobile, Google = 91%, bing =1%
    DeskTop Google = 82%, bing = 4%

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-10/google-s-u-s-search-market-share-rises-to-65-3-yahoo-declines.html
    US Search : Google = 65% bing = 14%

    http://www.karmasnack.com/about/search-engine-market-share/
    Global: Google = 84%, bing = 2%
    US Google = 83%, bing = 5%

    Claiming that bing has 33% of the US market share on search (as in "nearly a third when including business partners such as Yahoo") is generous at best.

    -CF
  • by thasmudyan (460603) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reteorhcs.odu'> on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:13AM (#37947220) Homepage

    If they don't know why they're slipping, they should take a long hard look at their own front lawn instead of glancing nervously sideways at Bing. Google Search is getting more worthless by the day. Each time they "tweak" the algorithm it gets worse. The quality of the search results themselves isn't even the most problematic issue.

    The main problem is that Google refuses to search for the actual terms you entered. They search for things that are sometimes kind of related to what you're looking for and they don't even show you which parts of your search term they ignored! The only way you're getting a real search result out of Google is when you trick it into doing its job by putting quotes around every single word of your search term (and even then it sometimes ignores you). It's mind-boggling to me how they fucked this up so badly, but it sure doesn't look like they're even aware of the problem.

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Friday November 04, 2011 @10:19AM (#37947284)

    in finding quality information than it used to be. Too many aggregator and link farms returned in the results. Too many paywalled sites. They need a non-commercial flag so you can weed out all that crap; sometimes you want neutral, authoritative information instead of the latest diet craze or gadget BS.

    As an example, my family recently started experiencing respiratory distress and we suspected toxic mold because of the exceptionally damp, warm summer we had. Yet after *30* pages of search results in Google it is *impossible* to find any information of any kind that isn't trying to sell you a kit.

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