Posts tagged ‘Bing’


Is Microsoft trying to stem its losses from Bing?

30.01.2023

If Appledystopia is right in its 2020 article, Microsoft loses US$1·5 milliard per annum on Bing. So maybe that explains why it’s worsened so much. Microsoft might well be finding ways to cut its losses, and servers cost money. Pity that none of the Bing clones are saying anything, not even Duck Duck Go’s usually vocal CEO.

I’m glad I discovered Mojeek when I did. We lost some traffic with Duck Duck Go’s near-dead internal search on Lucire, and overall I suspect everyone has lost traffic with Bing dying. With Google now also faltering (they still make plenty from the human farms, but you have to wonder just why it has worsened, even for existing sites), then it’s important that alternative, growing search engines—that’s engines, not services (so you can discount Ecosia, Neeva, Qwant, Duck Duck Go, and many others)—get our support.

There’s really only Mojeek in the occident with a growing index, regularly requiring new servers. If you aren’t anti-Russian, there’s Yandex; and China of course has Baidu. Brave and Yep are making great efforts but their indices are still small, though Yep can do better than Bing on some sites.


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Now Google is worsening on a site: search: framesets from the early 2000s are in the top 10

26.01.2023

This was never supposed to become a search engine blog, but like the Facebook “malware scanner” (or was that scammer?) and Google lying about its Ads Preferences Manager, I was forced to investigate when no one in the media (or, for that matter, the wider internet) did.

And over the years, those posts really helped people and exposed some wrongdoings.

Hence the latest obsession, about Bing, because no one seems to have noticed how Microsoft’s search engine is behaving as though someone at Redmond is unplugging servers left, right and centre.

Someone on Reddit suggested I try Kagi, which is a paid search engine—but from what I can tell, it’s a meta-search (the person who told me about it confirmed this, as did an earlier review).

I’ve seen meta-searches for decades, and admittedly Kagi is the prettiest of them all, but because it’s pulling from Bing and Google, it suffers from the limitations of both, especially the former.

We already have seen how Bing basically favours antiquity over currency, at least where Lucire is concerned, so Kagi’s results contain, in their top 10, pages that have not been updated (or linked) since the mid-2000s. When the Google-sourced results are factored in, it looks a bit better (since there are pages from the 2010s and 2020s), but they still aren’t the most relevant (since it seems Google has been faltering somewhat on site: searches, too).

Here’s a screen shot from Kagi. Results 1, 6 and 7 are current; result 3 is from the early 2010s; results 2, 4, 5 and 8 are framesets from the 2000s; result 9 is from 2014 and hasn’t been linked since then; the remainder are stories which can still be found through spidering but date from between 2011 and 2016.
 

 

Since it’s a meta-search, I decided to peer into Google and its top 10 do not look good, either. As I don’t tend to use Google, and the recent tests were about grabbing the number of search results, or analysing their currency, I hadn’t drilled down on a site:lucire.com search for a while.

Let’s see how they look today.
 


 
Surprisingly bad. Results 1 and 2 are current; results 3, 4 and 5 are framesets from the early 2000s that have not been linked since then; result 6 is from 2005 and has not been linked since then; result 7 is a 2011 story; result 8 is a 2022 story; result 9 is a 2016 story; and result 10 is a 2011 story.

In other words, the Google top 10 has changed probably due to their algorithm, but I wouldn’t call these relevant to what searchers seek. I could understand the old about.shtml staying in the top 10 despite its antiquity, but some of these top-level pages are really old. Framesets? Seriously?

Result 11 is repeated, which is also odd, while results 14 and 15 are tag pages from the Wordpress part of the site. The 15th is for Whangarei, not exactly the fashion centre of the world.

Google’s fall could explain why these blog posts have suffered traffic-wise as they are seriously irrelevant; there’s no connection to the pages’ popularity, either. It’s really beginning to feel like the Wayback Machine there, too.

Mojeek still makes more sense, since the search there requires a term, i.e. site:lucire.com lucire, so naturally it gives you pages containing the word Lucire more.
 

 

Result 1 is our home page (makes infinite sense!); result 2 a current top-level contents’ page; result 5 is the main page from Lucire TV; while the rest are stories that have the word Lucire contained in them more than what is typical for our site.

It looks like the US search engines are faltering while Mojeek is getting better. What an interesting development. I didn’t have worsening Google search on my 2023 bingo card.
 
Incidentally, for this website, Google still places my mayoral election pages from 2013 in its top 10; while Mojeek links the home page, the blog, a mixture of posts from 2009, 2020, 2021 and 2022, a transcript of a 2008 speech, and a tag page from 2010. Bing has pages from 2003 and 2012, but also some current top-level pages and, amazingly, three blog posts that are likely to be relevant (two of them critical about Bing from 2022 and 2023, and a 2021 post about Vodafone). In other words, Google has done the worst, in my opinion. Bing only has 10 pages so it has the smallest index but what it showed was surprisingly good! That leaves Mojeek, again, as delivering the best balance of relevance and index size.


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For most sites, Bing continues to shrink

19.01.2023


The New York Times’ presence on Bing has plunged back to the thousands—it was 2,723 on August 2
 
Back in July, I ran site: searches on a small range of websites to see just how bad things had got with Bing.

In January, I can report some have gone worse. And back in July it was already pathetic.

The first figure below is from today, the parenthesized figure from July.

Remember that Mojeek is the only party that appears to report these figures honestly. Bing repeats results from page to page—around 40 per cent from the searches I’ve done with site:lucire.com. Google will show a few hundred so it’s anyone’s guess. I prefer Mojeek’s 1,000 cap and that works particularly well for the Lucire site.
 
Die Zeit (zeit.de)
Mojeek: 5,279 (4,796)
Google: 2,590,000 (2,600,000)
Bing: 6,010 (3,770)
 
Annabelle (annabelle.ch)
Mojeek: 882 (405)
Google: 14,000 (11,700)
Bing: 25 (105)
 
Holly Jahangiri (jahangiri.us)
Mojeek: 299 (222)
Google: 510 (738)
Bing: 10 (49) but reports 2
 
The Gloss (thegloss.ie)
Mojeek: 2,615 (1,968)
Google: 23,000 (19,200)
Bing: 71 (71)
 
The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Mojeek: 3,547,405 (2,823,329)
Google: 42,800,000 (36,200,000)
Bing: 5,170 (1,190,000)
 
Lucire (lucire.com)
Mojeek: 3,529 (3,572)
Google: 4,940 (6,050)
Bing: 10 (50)
 
The Rake (therake.com)
Mojeek: 1,382 (1,443)
Google: 10,900 (11,500)
Bing: 10 (49)
 
Travel & Leisure (travelandleisure.com)
Mojeek: 11,222 (9,750)
Google: 21,000 (28,100)
Bing: 15,100 (220)
 
Microsoft (microsoft.com)
Mojeek: 1,887,288 (1,748,199)
Google: 120,000,000 (122,000,000)
Bing: 340,000 (14,200,000)
 
Detective Marketing (detectivemarketing.com)
Mojeek: 591 (579)
Google: 835 (998)
Bing: 10 (51)
 

There we have it: some rises at Bing for Die Zeit and Travel & Leisure, steady at The Gloss, but notable falls at The New York Times (back into the thousands, down from millions) and Microsoft’s own website (340,000, down from over 14 million). If you’re an independent publication, your presence on Bing is not rosy, with Annabelle, Lucire and The Rake netting between 10 and 25 despite thousands of pages on each site; while my friend Stefan Engeseth’s Detective Marketing site is also down to 10 from an already low 51.

I know from Mojeek’s blog that they keep plugging hard drives and servers to cope as their index expands. I can only assume from these numbers that Microsoft is unplugging them though they seem to look after you more if you’re an establishment website from a big company.
 
PS.: Here’s another way of looking at the data, factoring in the round of tests I did on August 2.


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The emperor has no clothes, so Microsoft does what little it can do

19.01.2023

When you’ve been saying the emperor has no clothes for the last few months—and on the emperor’s forums—I shouldn’t be surprised we are at this point now.

Bing is virtually dead, and they don’t want me probing Bing Webmaster Tools (which are largely useless) about my own sites to show up even more of their BS.
 

 

As moves go, this is pretty daft. I mean, it was pretty useless before, so now I wonder how much more BS there is. I guess whomever is running Bing wants to confirm to me that Bing is dead along with the rest of it.


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How the search engines fare on a site: search here

16.01.2023

Time to do some analysis on the age of the search results for this site through the search engines. I’m curious about the drop in hits. ‘Contents’ pages’ also include static pages and, in Bing’s case, PDFs. (PS.: For clarification, a contents’ page would include a Wordpress tag page, or a page for a set month containing all that month’s posts.)
 
Mojeek
Contents’ pages: ★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006 ★★
2007 ★
2008 ★★
2009 ★★★★★★
2010 ★
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020 ★★
2021 ★★★★★★★★★★★
2022 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2023
 
Interesting spread, and no problems indexing PHP pages (after 2010). Some repeat results, with Mojeek having both www.jackyan.com and jackyan.com versions of the same pages. I’m surprised at the gap between 2010 and 2020, though they do appear after the 50 mark.
 
Google
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
 
Now that was a surprise. Only the static, HTML pages, with a lot of ex-Blogger indices (which were also HTML). Talk about being a Wayback Machine. No individual blog posts at all and a lot of really old stuff that isn’t even linked any more. I expected Yandex to do something like this, not Google.
 
Bing
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023 ★
 
Still bizarre. Bing claimed it had six results and delivered 10 on the first page. One blog post from 2023 makes it in here—it’s one attacking Bing and calling it near death. (Of the ones after the 3rd, it’s done marginally better, though it’s still hundreds off the norm.) During the course of the day, the 50-something results Bing had for site:jackyan.com has fallen to 10. Talk about decaying.

Interestingly, Bing gives 50 or so results on mobile—something I discovered this morning after compiling the above and before I pressed ‘Publish’ in Wordpress.
 
Yandex
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2007 ★★★★★★★★★
2008 ★★★
2009 ★★★★★★
2010 ★★★★
2011 ★★
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019 ★★
2020 ★
2021
2022
2023
 
Some repeated results and definitely in favour of static HTML pages (pre-2010) over dynamic ones.
 
Baidu
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010 ★
2011 ★
2012
2013
2014 ★
2015
2016
2017 ★★★★
2018 ★★
2019 ★
2020 ★★★★★★★★★
2021 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2022 ★★★★★★
2023
 
Baidu gives the wrong date for a lot of results, and there was a repeated result, too. But a pretty good site search and far closer to what I expected I would see, since it’s the post-2010 blog posts that I thought were more significant. There were a few in 2006 that got me some international mainstream media coverage and appearances on Aljazeera English’s Listening Post in those early days, but the most read blog entries were from 2016.
 
Yep
Contents’ pages ★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014 ★★
2015
2016
2017 ★
2018
2019
2020 ★★
2021
2022 ★
2023
 
Not bad for a newbie in beta, spidering both static and dynamic (PHP) pages. Better than Bing’s mix for the 10 each delivers.

Gigablast delivers none.

I can’t say for sure what caused the traffic drop based on the above, since I haven’t documented one of these searches before. So I’ve nothing to compare it to, though my vague memory is that Google would have had some of my actual posts among the top 50. A lot of the pages it does have there aren’t that highly trafficked. Could we blame Google?

Sadly, I don’t have enough data to know for sure, but on the face of it, Google’s top 50 are anomalous, while Bing continues to demonstrate that it’s largely useless.
 
PS.: Just tried site:bing.com. Bing’s results were terrible, including some real estate searches for homes in France, lots of repeated results. Mojeek and Google delivered better results for site:bing.com than Bing did.


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From January 3, blog traffic went well down

16.01.2023

Around January 3, the regular traffic to each blog post fell off a cliff here. Either my posts have suddenly become a bore and not worth reading, or something else external has happened. Is Feedburner dead? Is it because my Twitter account is locked (by me, a few weeks ago)? Is it the death of Bing? Or were the hundreds of views per post (700 being typical) overinflated all these years? Anyone else observed quite a sudden change? (I did two posts on the 3rd, one is on 309 views, the other on 98 at the time of writing. The rest haven’t picked up much since the second post on the 3rd.)

It’s not a huge deal since I blog as catharsis and when I was on Vox (2006–9), I never looked at any stats anyway. But there was a part of me quite happy that my silly musings were useful or entertaining enough to warrant those visits.

A quick site:jackyan.com search gives us these figures (claimed, followed by actual). Including this post, there are 1,252 posts on Wordpress, and quite a few in the old Blogger archive (still live), so I’d expect over 1,000 results:
 
Mojeek: 456/456
Google: 708/288
Bing: 219/58
Yandex: 2,000/250
Baidu: 2,110/233
Gigablast: —/0
Yep: —/10
 

The western search engines are really low but Mojeek once again leads with pages delivered (and showed exactly the amount of results it said it would). I’m surprised that Baidu does so well here. Yandex has a lot of index pages in their results, so take their figure with a grain of salt; and Bing repeats from page to page—though 58 here (with repeats) is more than 10 for Lucire. Are the search engines the culprits? Or a Wordpress plug-in?


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Bing increases Techdirt’s results, saving it some embarrassment

13.01.2023

After notifying Mike Masnick, the founder of Techdirt, about my findings about Bing, coincidentally, the search engine began spidering his latest articles. It claimed to have 150 results, and delivered 92, many of which were repeated from page to page as usual. Tonight it’s a claimed 249, delivering 173.

Techdirt is well respected and very popular, and disliked presently only by the Musk bros. What’s the likelihood that Microsoft knew about their shortcomings here and corrected things? I wasn’t exactly quiet, and I told more than Mike and the readers of this blog (I went on Reddit, for example), since it was so ridiculous that Bing could only deliver one result for such a major website. It’s embarrassing for them, so they decided to do the right thing. Like any Big Tech firm: do nothing unless you risk getting bad press. This is right out of the Facebook playbook, for example.

What a pity they could not do the right thing for the rest of us.

Just as a comparison, since I am nothing if not fair. Here are the claimed number of results versus the number delivered for site:techdirt.com:
 
Mojeek: 48,606/1,000
Google: 54,700/394
Bing: 249/173
Yandex: 2,000/250
Baidu: —/1
Gigablast: 0/0
Yep: —/10
 

In that context, it doesn’t look so bad, especially as a lot of Yandex results are of Techdirt’s various directories and largely useless.

It’s not so hot for site:lucire.com over at Bing:
 
Mojeek: 3,481/1,000
Google: 5,970/307
Bing: 2/10
Yandex: 2,000/250
Baidu: 1,480/400
Gigablast: 0/0
Yep: —/10
 

I’m not kidding: Bing claims it had 2 results and delivered 10. Looks like one of those rare times they underestimated. Well off the mark of the 55 they have been doing since mid-2022 and that was pathetic. There is nothing in the results from after 2007. Maybe fixing Techdirt’s results meant that Bing had so little computing power for every other site!

Well, I guess I can no longer claim that for a site:lucire.com search that Bing is repeating results from page to page, since it only has one page.
 


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This surely makes it blatantly obvious that Bing is near death

06.01.2023

Here’s a site I’ve always liked: Techdirt. It’s incredibly influential, and reports on the technology sector. Mike Masnick’s run it for the same length of time as I’ve run Lucire (25 years, and counting).

And when it comes to Bing’s index collapse—or whatever you wish to call it—it’s no more pronounced than here (well, at least among the sites that even get listed). For site:techdirt.com:
 
Google: 54,700 results, 393 visible
Mojeek: 48,818 results, 1,000 visible
Yandex: 2,000 results, 250 visible
Gigablast: 200 results, 200 visible
Yep: 10 results, 10 visible
Baidu: 1 result, 1 visible
Bing: 1 result, 1 visible
 



 

One. This is a site that dates back to the 1990s and churns out numerous articles daily, and that’s how bad Bing’s got. Naturally, it’s the same with all the Bing clones, like Yahoo (the one with no logo now), Ecosia, Qwant, Neeva, Duck Duck Go, etc. Unlike Baidu, Bing doesn’t have communist Chinese censorship as an excuse. Or does it?

If you ever needed proof something was really, really off at Redmond, this is it. And still the clones stay silent.
 





 
PS.: If you search for Techdirt on Bing, its home page does not even come up in the top 10.
 
P.PS.: Here’s what WorldWideWebSize.com has to report (thanks to nf3xn for posting it first on their Mastodon). I believe the site is wrong when it calculates that the total index was up as high as it is on the left of the graph: basically it takes what Bing claims is the number of results as the truth, and we know it lies.
 


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On the verge of a change for the better

13.11.2022

I can’t find the original toot on Mastodon but I was led to this piece in the MIT Technology Review by Chris Stokel-Walker, ‘Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks’.

As I’ve cut back on my Twitter usage, I haven’t witnessed any issues, but it does highlight the efforts Big Tech goes to in order to maintain their sites. If anything, it explains why Facebook failed so regularly and so often, as documented on this blog.

The prediction? An anonymous engineer tells the Review:

“Things will be broken. Things will be broken more often. Things will be broken for longer periods of time. Things will be broken in more severe ways,” he says. “Everything will compound until, eventually, it’s not usable.”

Twitter’s collapse into an unusable wreck is some time off, the engineer says, but the telltale signs of process rot are already there. It starts with the small things: “Bugs in whatever part of whatever client they’re using; whatever service in the back end they’re trying to use. They’ll be small annoyances to start, but as the back-end fixes are being delayed, things will accumulate until people will eventually just give up.”

I wonder if they will give up, since I’ve encountered Facebook bugs almost since the day I joined, and there are still people there. In fact, like tech experts, some fellow users even blame me, saying that I encounter more bugs than anyone they know. I doubt this: I just remember the bugs better than they do. We’ve all been subject to the well publicized global outages—just that the majority don’t remember them.

While one contact of mine disagrees, I think Twitter won’t collapse on its own. Mastodon could be an alternative, encouraging people away, just as Google enticed Altavista users over; or Facebook saw to the end of Myspace. There seems to be a new era coming, sweeping away the old, especially as Big Tech falters. Twitter has lost a huge chunk of its staff, and Facebook has slashed its ranks by 11,000. Mojeek has emerged as a credible, privacy-respecting alternative to Google—as Microsoft Bing collapses, taking with it its proxies, Duck Duck Go, Ecosia, Yahoo! and others. The web’s future feels more open, more optimistic, with these technologies spurring civilized dialogue and sparking ideas. It could almost be time to bring back the day-glo on a Wired cover.

On the other hand, maybe Twitter can collapse on its own, with a fake blue-tick EIi LiIIy, looking to the world like Eli Lilly, announcing free insulin and sending Eli Lilly’s share price tumbling, wiping milliards off its value. With advertisers pulling out (little wonder if their Twitter account managers are fired) it may look very different come Christmas.


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Forget the 2010s and 2020s, Bing’s results are firmly in the 2000s now

09.10.2022

Immediately after blogging about Bing being able to pick up an article from 2022, Microsoft’s collapsing search engine has reverted back to being the Wayback Machine. There was just over a week of it living in the 2020s, but it seems it’s too much for them.

It’s back to, well, Bing Vista, for want of a better term. Of the 50 results (out of a claimed 120!) that it’s capable of returning for site:lucire.com, here is how it breaks down based on the publication year of the article. Since my last test, Bing has eliminated the 2018 and 2019 results (one page per year). We wouldn’t want to think it could deliver anything from the last decade, would we?
 
Bing
Contents’ pages ★★
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001 ★★★★★
2002
2003 ★★★★
2004 ★★★★
2005 ★★
2006 ★
2007 ★★★★★★★
2008 ★★
2009 ★★
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
 

There were 29 unique results, which means 21 were repeats—42 per cent! Bing says it had 120 results but really only had 29. To fill up the 50 it had to show 21 results multiple times!

Let’s see how Google fared for the first 50 results.
 
Google
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★★★
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002 ★★
2003
2004 ★★
2005 ★
2006
2007 ★
2008
2009 ★
2010 ★★
2011 ★★★
2012 ★★
2013 ★★
2014 ★★★
2015 ★★
2016 ★★
2017 ★★
2018 ★★
2019 ★★★
2020 ★★★
2021 ★★
2022 ★★★★★
 
Google has moved again since we began looking at things. In an earlier test tonight, Google had two repeat results, which was a surprise. But I wasn’t able to replicate it when I did the one for the blog post.

No such issues at Mojeek, where every entry is unique. They really are more capable of delivering search engine results for site searches that are superior to the other two’s.
 
Mojeek
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004 ★
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009 ★
2010 ★★
2011 ★★
2012 ★★★
2013 ★★★★★
2014 ★★★
2015 ★★★★★
2016
2017
2018
2019 ★★★★
2020 ★★
2021 ★★★★★★★★★
2022 ★★★★★★
 
An improvement on our September 21 test, where Mojeek has managed to capture more 2020s pages as part of its top 50.

I won’t run the other search engines through this—I just wanted two points of comparison to highlight how ridiculous Bing remains, with the resultant effect on web traffic. It means Duck Duck Go, Qwant, Ecosia, Yahoo and others, which are also Bing, are just as compromised.

I might lay off them for a while as we know it’s crap and things aren’t going to change. Microsoft has firmly entrenched itself as a bunch of liars, like their other Big Tech counterparts.


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