Microsoft is focusing on making things more mobile. Yesterday, they launched Bing for Mobile and updated Bing to make it show identical results in all platforms. But with release versions for iOS and Android, we’re wondering why Bing can’t get the star treatment on its parent company’s own mobile platform?
Bing for Mobile
Bing for Mobile brings Bing to iOS and some Android devices. Yes, you read that right, iOS and Android devices only, none for Windows 7 devices but the Bing team said that they’re working on it and it will be available in the future.
According to the Bing team, “Rather than tightly binding functions into a mobile client, we want to embrace the drive towards exposing our functions via an HTML5 experience. In order for search to advance, engines need to be able to call functions that are currently ‘hiding’ in apps so we can better help people get done what they are trying to get done. Using HTML5, our goal is to build a mobile experience that leverages the unique capabilities of the different platforms including camera support and voice search, while making the functions the apps can provide consistent across the platforms and – in the future – callable by engines to help people get from searching to doing.”
The app features:
- Maps/List Split View: Provides a dynamic way to synchronize a list such as business listings and directions and a map in a single view making it easy to see the location of what you’re searching for. Also works for driving directions and transit.
- Deals: One-stop deal shopping and convenient mobile phone access for local deals from more than 100 deal providers across the US.
- Video Domain: launched last month on m.bing, the new video domain is now available on iPhone.
- Transit/Real-Time: the Android app now features transit routing/real-time transit and news– all features that were previously only available on m.bing.com.
Bing’s Biased Results
As Bing comes to mobile devices, Microsoft updated Bing so that results on the web, smartphones and tablets would be the same or show the same results. And this refueled the argument as to which search engine is unbiased.
In a study done by Josh Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, he found that Bing is more biased than Google as they reference their services more than others. Wright’s study showed that Google references its own content in its first results position in just 6.7% of queries, while Bing provides search result links to Microsoft content more than twice as often (14.3%).
But earlier this year, another study showed otherwise. Harvard professor Ben Edelman who conducted the earlier study stated that, “by comparing results across multiple search engines, we provide prima facie evidence of bias; especially in light of the anomalous click-through rates we describe above, we can only conclude that Google intentionally places its results first.”
So why did the two studies showed different results? Edelman is a long-time, paid Microsoft consultant so his study is likely to be the biased one. But what about the other?
According to Geoffrey A. Manne, Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics who sponsored the research, “The study was not done at Google’s request, and they had no involvement in the design, methodology or conclusions. Rather, the idea for the study and its execution were entirely Josh’s. It was undertaken independently and supported, as all of our affiliates’ supported work is, with an unrestricted grant from ICLE.”