From Windows Live Search to Bing Social in 6 years!

Six years ago Microsoft introduced it’s new search offering known back then as Windows Live Search and since then Microsoft have been trying to get a good chunk of the market dominated by Google. With the recent launch of the latest incarnation of Bing I thought I’d rollback the years and look at some of the changes Microsoft has done since 2006.

A new look & feel with the new band of Windows Live

One of the big changes done at that time was the introduction of the Windows Live family of products which included several offerings such as Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Search …etc. I was interested in exploring a lot of these offerings over the past few years and here are some of the thoughts I had over that time, especially on the progress of the new search offering from Microsoft.

Windows Live Search: I’ll give it a try
Windows Live Search. Windows Live…
Windows Live Search Changes
Windows Live Search Advanced Options
Windows Live Search Macros
Windows Live Search and Google
New features on Windows Live Search
Windows Live Search Images
Live Search vs Google
More on Live Search
Search Engine Innovation: Bing vs Google

At the time, some of my favourite features included the Windows Live Search Advanced Search options, and the Windows Live Search Images feature (which is still somewhat there) but a lot has changed since then. Generally speaking I think that from a UI and UX perspective Bing has evolved in more significant ways than Google has over the past few years. Aside from Google temporarily introducing the +1 button on their search results not long ago (sound’s familiar? Similar behaviour was suggested here before that existed:Search Engine Innovation: Bing vs Google) I don’t think Google UI/UX has evolved much but I assume they’ve been doing work under the hood to improve their search results. On the other hand, Microsoft has been constantly making visible changes to it’s search engine (including renaming from Live Search to Bing (someone must have read my suggestion in this post (More on Live Search) and I think with every change they’re making they’re doing better.

In 2006 the Windows Live Search market share was 11% ( and in 2012 it’s sitting around 15% ( Clearly this increase in 6 years is not a much of a threat to Google but could this be about to change?

Introducing the new Bing

Last Month Microsoft introduced it’s latest changes to the Bing search engine and one of the biggest changes is making the search engine social centric.I think the idea of “Spend Less Time Searching, More Time Doing” by making search more social could really work in Bing’s favour of gaining market share if they get it right. The post Introducing the new Bing on the Bing blog provides a lot of good information on the new search experience.

b1 b2

b5 b6

It’s good to see that in addition to the new features Microsoft have also simplified the UI significantly from the old versions as can be seen in the previous posts I wrote. However (as you can see in the images above), for me one of the biggest issues I have with Bing is the search homepage. Despite all the good things in the new UI I’ve always found – and still do – that the Bing home page is very distracting, not to mention that it also doesn’t align well with the new simplified UI. When I go to the main reason is to search, and for that all I need is a search box which Google gives me. However, when I visit, I’m distracted by fancy background images and random popup notes/facts that I’m not really looking for or am interested in. So question to Bing, why do you show me these? Why can’t I just see the search box I’m after in a simple non-distracting web page? If you really think it’s important to show these images and posts then maybe you can give me control over whether or not to have them turned on?

Seriously Bing, for me, the main reason I still use Google over Bing is that annoying default Bing home page!