Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

Bing and Facebook Social Search now available

03 Nov

Last month, Bing and Facebook joined forces to bring some new social search features into the Bing search engine.

Today, this is now live for US customers, with rollouts globally over the next few months. This update allows users to sign in to the Facebook accounts within Bing and get a more personalised search service as a result. The first of these new services is Liked Results, which shows you relavant links to your search that are also liked by your friends in Facebook.

For more details on the other elements in social search you can read the full article over on


Google introduces new web image format

02 Oct

Google has placed a great deal of emphasis on speed for the last year or two, offering numerous tools and resources aimed at speeding things up. The speed theme continues as Google has introduced a new image format from the web, aimed at speeding up load times. It’s called WebP

 Those interested in SEO will likely find the status of the format worth paying attention to, as Google recently announced that it now counts page speed as a ranking factor. Just remember, page speed is only one of a few hundred ranking factors the search giant takes into consideration.

Heres an extract from the announcement

“Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time. Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution. As part of this effort, we are releasing a developer preview of a new image format, WebP, that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before. Images and photos make up about 65% of the bytes transmitted per web page today. They can significantly slow down a user’s web experience, especially on bandwidth-constrained networks such as a mobile network. Images on the web consist primarily of lossy formats such as JPEG, and to a lesser extent lossless formats such as PNG and GIF. Our team focused on improving compression of the lossy images, which constitute the larger percentage of images on the web today. “

Googles set a site up where you can compare the sizes and load times of JPEGs and WebPs. Theres also has a conversion tool to convert images to the new format that can be downloaded, and is working with the web browser and web developer community to add support for the format. Google is also developing a patch for WebKit to provide native support for WebP in an upcoming release of Chrome. It also plans to add support for a transparency layer or alpha channel in a future update.

It will be very interesting to see how widely this format gets adopted over time.


Bing Maps gets a major boost

03 Aug

Bing Maps added some new major functionality yesterday.

First of these is the OpenStreetMap view. Described as the Wikipedia of maps, it allows the the user to view lots of different sets of data for the same location, without leaving the Bing Maps interface. 

Secondly, Bing Maps announced that its “Sexy Maps” (Microsoft term;-)) built with Silverlight have been rolled out to all Bing Maps users.  The new maps are a “combination of both raster tiles and vector graphics rendered in the browser at run time”.

The new dynamically labeled areas are clickable and will zoom you into the respective region, like peeling back layers of an onion, with this, Bing Maps will add more emphasis on its Local Search

Theres a load of visual effects as well, designed to make seeing the map when you are colour blind easier, and using some of the local machine hardware, and the power of Silverlight to make zooming a load more smoother.

More details can be found at TheNextWeb


Happy Birthday Bing!

05 Jun

Bing has reached its first birthday! Happy birthday Bing! According to reports, Bing has gained quite a bit of credibility. Read more about its gains here.

Heres to the next year of gains…

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Posted in Search


Google allows end users to opt out of Analytics reporting

26 May
Google has announced that end users will be allowed to download a plug-in for their browsers to stop sites using Google analytics from tracking what they do and where they go. Google has suggested that the initial take-up of this option will mean around a 10% loss of traffic being reported. If you use the Analytics service, and you see a drop in activity, It may be because of this plug in, and not because of a drop in visits.

Personally, I think this number will get much higher as the knowledge of this plug-in permeates the Internet. You may need to start thinking of how much reliance and importance you place on the data you get from this service.

Here’s a link to Googles official announcement,


Bing Maps meets PhotoSynth and Flickr and Video and OMG…!

14 Feb
From the TED conference, Bing Maps’ Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates how augmented reality on top of Bing Maps can help us see into the past, or the future or into space..

Using Photosynth like technology to integrate photos from sources such as flickr, I think its fantastic that this software can map photos from multiple sources can be integrated so semlessly. Add in the telepresence options from a roving camera on a backpack, or other video source and we get the ability to get an understanding about somewhere that are just not possible with standard mapping stuff out there at present.

Imagine looking a a map that shows how busy the traffic is at a location, or watching some street entertainment happening now, or following some other incident happening anywhere in the world theres a camera.

Blaise also shows integration from telescopes when he points the ‘map view’ into the sky.

Its just awesome…!

Watch it at

Fantastic work guys..


Bing in the wild

19 Aug
Following on from some posts that Ian Moulster did showing Bing stickers on different vehicles, and the aquasition of some Bing swag imported especially for NxtGenUG from the US.

Some of you may know that NxtGenUG holds some of its meetings at Coventry Flying School, and some of you may know that I have an interest in flying. So, trying to combine these two passions, I ventured into the hanger and took these pictures..

Finally, I spotted the sit on lawn mower in the corner of the hanger. On closer inspection, and on lifting the bonnet, I found this..


Vista and XP Search updates

09 Jun
When Vista was first released, I wrote an article for Microsoft about the new search mechanism in Vista. Well, there’s now an update to it, called Windows Search 4.0

The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007.

You can use this search engine to index a program’s content and to obtain instant results when you search in a particular program.

Windows Search 4.0 includes the following improvements:
Support for indexing encrypted documents of local file systems
Reduced affect on Microsoft Exchange when you index e-mail in online mode, and there is no local cache (.ost)
Support for indexing online delegate mailboxes
Support for client-to-client remote query to shared indexed locations
Improved indexing performance
Faster previewer updates for Windows XP
Per-user Group Policy settings
Windows software updates for Watson errors
You can find out more and can downloads updates for XP, Vista SP1 and Windows 2008 from