Real Live Search: where was Bing 12 months ago? (update: Bing has HTML5 update up their sleeves)

For nostalgic reasons, I decided to revisit TechCrunch’s article on my Real Live Search experiment more than a year ago. One comment in particular amused me with what is possibly the very definition of irony in retrospect.

In all seriousness, someone today raised a very good question, why didn’t Bing implement this much earlier when it was clearly demonstrated how even their public developer APIs could have quite easily supported the functionality and load. In fact the only missing component was some Javascript which took all of a night for me to implement a prototype.

Unfortunately for Bing, I think this was a missed opportunity that will now only end up with them being labelled “copy cats” when it does eventually ship.

Update: Christo27 in the comments below shared this video of a Bing session at the Apple WWDC 2010 event earlier this year. Apparently they showed off a demo of a prototype HTML5 version of Bing that has some interesting functionality including but limited to a quasi-instant version of the search results page.

It looks pretty sweet and maybe this is why Bing has been holding off any updates. After all, Internet Explorer 9 will ship with HTML5 support.

32 insightful thoughts

  1. I’m not sure about this one.

    Will this be a case of Bing missed the boat with the Next Big Thing? Or will this be something that annoys Google users and make them go to other options?

    I primarily use Bing nowadays, so I don’t have a good opinion on this, but after using instant search for a bit I get the feeling that its more of an annoyance than an aid. If the majority of people feel like this, it’ll end up hurting Google more than helping it.

    A side note – somewhere someone from Google mentioned that this update would help “power users” the most. I consider myself a “power user” – and I rarely go to a search engine’s homepage to conduct a search. I either use the search box, or (with firefox and chrome) the URL bar to search. So I’m kind of confused about how they think that power users will be helped the most by this update.

    1. Well there’s always the option to turn it off. And you can still use it to refine your search queries after you use your browser search bar.

      1. Oh I know that.

        But how many “normal” users (like my mom), will know how to turn it off?

        I work in IT with a company that supports maybe 500+ computer users. I run into people all the time that use google to go to a website. I.e., they’ll open up google, then type in cnn. I have absolutely no idea if this type of change will be felt as a positive or negative one.

  2. The idea is amusing and kudos to you for implementing it first. However, in practice I find “instant” search annoying, and like Sam said, use my browser’s search box 99% of the time. I’m also a Bing user and would really rather Bing not waste time implementing continuously updated results and rather refines its own strengths and brings new innovation to the market.

    1. While an updated TV Guide on MSN would be welcomed, but I’m suprised they haven’t moved that over to Bing yet, where I think it belongs. Frankly, it doesn’t do me much good if it doesn’t interface with Windows Media Center. I’ve been looking at some gorgeous WP7 apps that do just that.

      1. i know the loss of remote scheduling was a very missed thing.

        the WMC sideshow gadget is a missed feature aswell but untill they sideshow app for WinMo gets updated(or natively integrated with win. phone 7) it dont matter much to me.

      2. I think it should stay on MSN TV (it makes sense with MSN being a news/entertainment hub, right?), but also be integrated into Bing. If they could just make it faster!

  3. I guess waiting to update Bing to a HTML5 interface until IE9 is one of those cases where it would be better if Microsoft businesses tried to act a little more independently. If Bing has something good to show/use then just get one with it – coming out with an instant search now will just be seen as a ‘late response’ (yes, I know that’s not fair, such is life).

    Windows, Office, DevDiv, Bing, Live – just release those hounds and stop trying to megacorp it, otherwise others are justing going to eat lunches that should have been Microsoft’s…

  4. What are the chances that Microsoft will include IE9 in Windows 7 SP1? That might explain why they are taking their sweet time with SP1.

  5. I don’t get two things:
    1) They’re using HTML5 instead of pushing forward Silverlight? That seems weird.
    2) Why is he using a Mac?

    1. Well, he’s using a Mac because its WWDC, which is an Apple conference ;)
      And I assume that they’re using html5 instead of silverlight because its much easier for everyone (with a modern browser, that is) to us… no install, and much more efficient.

    2. Why would Microsoft not want to do utilize HTML5 with Bing and make that a showcase for IE9? IE is as important to Microsoft as Silverlight. If you are worried about Silverlight, don’t be. Silverlight will stay ahead of the HTML standards curve. Make no mistake, Microsoft will continue to evolve Silverlight and offer premium Bing experiences based on Silverlight.

  6. did google steal ur idea? if yes, then r u not upset with the breach of ur intellectual rights?
    dont u own this tech if u were the first one come up with this idea?

  7. Great presentation! Why hasn’t Microsoft release this update to Bing but most importantly, why hasn’t Microsoft itself, specially, or one of its many watcher/fan sites ever mention this presentation?

    Will this update make me switch to Bing from Google? Probably not, since I’m already used to using Google, but this Bing HTML5 demo is awesome!

  8. What i’d be interested in seeing, is how they integrate this with Chrome, and perhaps make ‘live search’ option available to all search engines on chrome.

  9. Because Microsoft usually has a tendency to develop only the underlying APIs or some sample apps instead of building complete end-to-end apps. Often they build only the platform instead of the ready-to-use app and many times, APIs go unused and wasted for a generation because no one built an app using them. Eventually MS will build an app if a competitor does so first and the category gets hot.

  10. Did not Yahoo and AllTheWeb do something like this in 2005 and 2006. Check Internet Archive.org for Yahoo Instant Search. But they never went through with it; they were risk averse. So if Google is copying anyone, they could be said to be copying that. Bing, too. I still think Bing should implement this but PLEASE OFFER A WAY TO TURN IT OFF. There are people who like it and those of us who don’t. Actually, I like your implementation better with the results on the right side and pictures below.

  11. Bing’s biggest problem is relevance. It does not produce as good of results as Google due to poor searching by MSNbot (soon to be called Bingbot) smaller index and less smarter searching. Unfortunately, Microsoft refuses to do anything to fix this problem. No wonder Bing has not grown much in the past year.

  12. How does HTML5 enable any of the things they’re adding? Couldn’t all of this been done in HTML4 with AJAX, jQuery, etc..

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