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Microsoft Bing's Stefan Weitz: "Traditional search is failing."

 3:19 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Microsoft Bing's Stefan Weitz: "Traditional search is failing." [huffingtonpost.com]
But what worked ten years ago doesn't work as well anymore, Weitz said, noting that the amount of information available online today, and the range of activities people seek to do there, have made the simple search that currently exists less effective.

“Search itself hasn’t changed fundamentally in the past 12 years,” he said. “Traditional search is failing. The standard notion of search ... looking at the texts in the page, the backlinks, all that stuff doesn’t work anymore.”



 4:11 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Actually "traditional search", as he describes it would work, if the search engines were not so hell bent on being "clever", and / or trying to out guess us as to what we want, or trying to push everyone's search to be "sheeple" driven.


 4:29 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's not failing, sites like HuffPost are failing to remain #1 to get continual free traffic and so they'd have us believe search is failing imo. I bet that if Bing and other search engines knowcked it off with "features" and stuck to the core "indexing" search would never fade.

It sounds like Bing is failing according to him.


 4:42 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, he said it, so it makes you think he might feel that search needs to change and grow, just as Google thinks it has to change, too.

I'd like to see all these topics, such as social, news, blog, shopping, etc., as options I can choose to include in the SERPs, and not as a default. If I want comparison sites, I choose that option. If I want shopping sites, I choose that option. If I want everything, I just don't choose.

Give the user choice.

That applies as much to Google as it does to Bing.

All this messing with the SERPs makes me think that there could be a resurgence of quality directories.


 5:39 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

don't fix what isn't broken?


 5:42 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Traditional search is failing

Or perhaps traditional search engines are failing at traditional search.

Give the user choice

Traditional search is the one choice that neither Microsoft nor Google seem to allow.

I wonder why that is.



 5:57 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Search is driven by profits, pure and simple.

If search were driven by great results, it would not resemble the standard 10 results with ads on top and to the side, that every engine uses.

Imagine how layout space could be used to better represent the keywords a user specifies. It could show branches, and divisions of content type, arranged in a manner that would lead to understanding the topic and its interrelations.

As long as the driver is profit and ads, we will get "improvements" such as social integration with the same old 10 + top ads + side ads. No innovation there.


 6:04 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being driven by profits. I'm saying that there seems to be a conflict between the current profit model and goals of better search.

I think if Bing were to find a way to better represent search while maintaining profits, they could pick up Google type market share. The 10 + top + side does not seem to be the answer. My guess is Facebook social will help but not win them the market.


 8:15 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

BS. Enter the right words and you will get the answers. They just want you to sell your soul to SE for 'better' results.

I don't want people to guess what I might like.


 8:51 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I dunno, maybe traditional search is not so much dead as simply lost in the sea of "enhancements" to search in general

Ok, I'm frustrated, both by search and incredibly bad site design today.

I've just spent 3 hours using both Bing and Google to try and find simple info like addresses tour hours of state capitols.

So far I've found "some info" for 5 (yes FIVE) states.

Apparently this is state secret type info. Thankfully wikipedia is there to rescue me!

Maybe I shoulda paid attention in "search 101" class.


 9:06 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

If Goo weren't so filthy greedy & money hungry search would be search and I wouldn't have to be in lock step with my 'friends'.


 9:22 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thankfully wikipedia is there to rescue me

I know that Bing didn't exist back then, and that its predecessors had a risible market share, but I think you may have identified the day that "traditional search" - by which I mean search engines confidently assessing the quality of their results by themselves - actually died.

When the top result is "this article is a stub" you know the buck is being passed.

The first to say "Thankfully wikipedia is there to rescue me" was probably Eric Schmidt.



 10:48 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

"+1 today is only on search results," he said. "I don’t really like search results very often. I like the sites, but I don’t like the result itself. I don’t know how helpful it is, frankly, to like the results."

I have to agree with that but I still think the search market is going to get fractured into more pieces.

Oh well.


 12:02 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


It's time for some of us to leave Spacebook and Fritter alone for a while.


 12:13 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bing avoids to invest in the massive infrastructure needed to index broadly the web, as Google has already done, and continues doing. They have not invested in this, and they do not have any plans to do so.

Massive amounts of investment are needed, and instead they are trying to "invent" "smart" cheap methods to substitute hard work, indexing and needed investment. They spider & index a minimal fraction of the web while masquerading as a major SE. They have already been successful in fooling a large segment of the US market (NOT Europe!) -- but the truth will gradually seep trough. Their search results in "long tail" are truly pathetic, both regarding text and images.

I am a "Google Hater" for many reasons -- however Bing is not a serious & viable alternative, by far. And, from what I gather from this announcement/comment, they don't plan to become one any time soon.

I wish they were, however, as viable competition to Google is desperately needed . . .



 12:15 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Traditional search is failing."

Hmmm...and their answer is to put Wikipedia as the #1 result because they, Google/Bing/Yahoo, no longer know how to deliver the basic results?

I'm not saying Wikipedia results are incorrect, simply that G/B/Y seem to have totally and utterly lost the ability of being able to comprehend the myriad of good and bad sites that exist, ergo the rest of us have to line-up behind Wikipedia in some kind of pseudo-order depending on that specific search engine's algo.

Here's a question.

When you are out in the pub/on the road/wanting an answer, from a mobile device, is your default solution usually Wikipedia?

Just an observation, am I right or wrong?

FYI: I do know my youngest daughter gets "all" her answers from me OR FB...arghhh!


 12:33 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

From what I've seen of Google and Microsoft/Bing, they are bright people. They just are not clever enough to make Search work properly. I was looking at that 30x problem that Google had a few years ago and the solution is so mindnumbingly simple but then it is not a textbook solution and that's all these guys are capable of based on the mess that is Search today. They are so busy trying to copy each other than they have lost to ability to think independently. And as for those bozos in Search who thought that the Semantic Web was the next big thing... :)



 2:19 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Searchvertising - a game played for profit by former search engines. The object of the game is to deliver up irrelevant results forcing the "opponent", (aka consumer), to become lost, frustrated or confused enough to click a paid ad resulting in profit for the engine, and a customer for the advertiser.

The article stinks of AOL (aka Huffington Post) + Microsoft (aka Bing) calling the kettle (aka Google) black in hopes of attracting more searchvertising players to the AOL and Bing game boards.

This post has been brought to you by POM Wonderful.


 2:25 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good analysis heisje.


 2:51 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

In the WebmasterWorld post: The Future of SEO in a Big Brand, Google-Only World

...around the 6th page of comments, I posted my idea for a distributed search engine.

As we webmasters claim to have made Google what it is today-- I think we are the only people capable of building it.

Maybe after it's all running nice we could sell ads -- but only to FakeBook, GOOF, Bling, Yeah-who and AOhell.


 7:26 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

If Bing and google believe that traditional search will not work anymore, then facebook should probably start their own engine and they needn't have to partner microsoft.

Stupid ideas are being floated by some guys as they are getting more and more GREEDY.


 8:06 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

“Traditional search is failing. The standard notion of search ... looking at the texts in the page, the backlinks, all that stuff doesn’t work anymore.”

I was thinking...this is really a dig at Google since Bing alone has access to FB and the links are supposedly dead. By extension he is saying that Bing is and will be better, at least for a long time. Google might never succeed in social or social might fade before they get it together.


 9:07 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's easy to make blanket statements that traditional search is failing when it's YOUR search failing. Just because you're getting your butt handed to you on a platter by another traditional search engine that's dominating the globe doesn't mean search is failing, your ability to get people to use Bing is what's failing.

Maybe Bing should rephrase that Bing's traditional search is failing because our search engine sucks, now that would be more of a true statement ;)


 9:14 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

They spider & index a minimal fraction of the web while masquerading as a major SE.

I recently blocked their bot on one of my sites. In April they visited that site just short of 400 times and all they took were 5-6 secondary pages, which no one would search for, all other visits were for robots.txt only. So I told them (virtually) "Don't exert yourself, come back when you get your act together".


 9:47 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe Bing should rephrase that Bing's traditional search is failing because our search engine sucks

That's how I interpreted it. "We haven't surpassed Google in this field so let's tell people the whole field is failing anyway." They strike a sweet and expensive deal with Facebook and now social is what matters. Pretty convenient.


 9:51 am on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a daft comment coming from the underdog that is so, so, so smug with their new Facebook deal.

SEO is dead? Social is where it's at. Rubbish. The two are great bed partners, perfect even, but that integration is really in it's infancy and the results are getting a bit cluttered with all of these new ideas.

Search is not going anywhere, people want to search and find things but they just want other ways to verify that the results or opinions they are receiving are valid and social signals, used properly (lets not get all page rank over this) could certainly help to create personally tailored results with feedback from known sources.

Search has never been more exciting. :)

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