Happy Birthday, Bing: Microsoft's Search Engine Turns 5

Happy Birthday Bing Cake

Today marks the 5th birthday of Microsoft's Search Engine, Bing. The Bing Search Blogreminded us yesterday that their search engine was "one that was anchored around the mission of empowering people with knowledge- helping them do more, not just search more."

In April, Bing held 18.7 percent of U.S. search queries, according to comScore, with most of that growth coming at the expense of its search partner, Yahoo. In order to better understand how Bing is the number two search engine in the U.S., it's important to remember how they started.

Bing's Inception

Upon launching in 2009, Bing described itselfas a "decision engine" which had a goal of providing " customers with intelligent search tools to help them simplify tasks and make more informed decisions."

Bing was largely focused on creating a user-friendly search engine that organized information in a way that allowed easy navigation. First they introduced Health and Travel verticals in 2009 as each had very particular vocabularies associated with them. Additionally, they began using left rail categories, which allowed users to filter results based on intent.

Making Room for Social Media

By 2010 it was clear that social media was here to stay. Social interactions left digital footprints, which enabled search engines to better, understand human behavior. Bing formed partnerships with platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which were instrumental in allowing them to index and identify these connections and interactions.

Mobile Changed the Search Game

In 2011 it was clear that search engines must optimize for tablets and mobile accessibility. Bing quickly saw the need for creating applications (e.g., Bing for iPad) that were optimized for touch screens and were visually rich to appeal to mobile users.

Bing's Ménage à Trois

In 2012, Bing integrated search results with social conversations. Users were provided access to three columns on their search screen which allowed them to identify what information was available on the web, what Bing knew, and what information other people knew (reviews, social posts, etc.).

Evolution is On the Horizon

Bing also shared some hints of what's to come:

You should expect relevant information to come to you when and where you need it. You should expect experiences to adapt to you and your context, instead of the other way around. You should expect proactive experiences that anticipate what you need. You should expect information to be actionable for what you need at home or work. Only Bing and Microsoft can provide all of this, and we couldn’t be more excited for the next five years and beyond.

While Bing remains in second place behind Google, their approach to connectivity and usability isn't one to be taken lightly. Based on the enormous progress Bing has made in the past five years, what innovation do you foresee in their near future. Time for truth, are you a Google user or a Bing user?

About the author

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Marketing for Benovate, a Minneapolis based health management company. She is responsible for the digital marketing strategy for the organization which includes search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing. She also provides guidance on communications best practices and on the communications support available for each client's unique business needs and budget.

Prior to joining Benovate, Ashley was a Communications Manager for RedBrick Health. Ashley also held the position of Marketing Manager for TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Her areas of expertise include communications, client relations, integrated marketing, online marketing, marketing strategy, content marketing, SEO, digital PR, blogging, B2B and B2C marketing, customer segmentation, and social media strategy.