Thursday, 29 November 2012

Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?

Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?
This week, Bing launched an attack campaign against Google, called “Don’t Get Scroogled“. It’s a dig at Google Shopping, the product of Google’s recent transition from the free-to-list product search offering to a paid inclusion, ad-based Google Shopping model. Bing insists “Scroogled” is about Scrooge, rather than implying that people are getting “screwed by Google,” as the word would suggest, and as the Urban Dictionary definition would imply. Right.
Either way, that makes little difference, as the message would essentially be the same. Is Bing right? Are users getting “Scroogled” by Google? Let us know what you think.
Google’s move to the paid inclusion model of Google Shopping has certainly not been without its controversy. Most of this, however, has stemmed from businesses who aren’t happy with the move. Bing’s campaign is painting the whole thing as harmful to consumers (go figure, given Microsoft’s participation in efforts to pressure regulators in antitrust matters regarding Google). But do users really feel they’re being harmed by this model?
“Specifically, we want to alert you to what Google has done with their shopping site right in time for Christmas,” explains Bing’s Chief Marketing Officer and Corporate Vice President, Mike Nichols. “Instead of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for the latest coffee maker you’re looking to buy mom, Google Shopping now decides what to show you – and how prominently to display what product offers they show — based partially on how much the merchant selling the product has paid them. Merchants can literally pay to improve their chances to display their product offers higher than others inside of Google’s shopping ‘search,’ even if it’s not better or cheaper for the consumer. The result of this new ‘pay-to-rank’ system is that it’s easy for consumers to mistake an ad for an honest search. That’s not right, it’s misleading. It’s not what you expect from search, and it’s not how we at Bing think search engines should help consumers get the best prices and selection when shopping.”
“In short, we think that too many shoppers who use Google for their shopping searches are getting ‘Scroogled’ when they should be getting fair, honest, open search. It’s like Ebenezer Scrooge met Google Shopping. We think consumers should be aware what they’re seeing when they’re shopping online and to understand, without any hidden text or traps, the fine print of what their ‘search engine’ actually searches.”
Despite these comments, Bing was almost immediately blasted in the tech media for its own Shopping results.
“Bing, after all, recently partnered with eBay’s,” writes Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch. “While Bing previously allowed merchants to submit their own feeds for inclusion, the company now says that it is ‘not accepting new merchants for this program.’ Instead, Bing says, merchants should work with One of the reasons for this according to Bing is that ‘paid offers will be highlighted throughout Bing Shopping, including search result and product pages.’”
You don’t say.
Similarly, search industry vet Danny Sullivan covered the story under the headline, “Bing Attacks Google Shopping With ‘Scroogled’ Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems.
Lardinois also shares a statement from Bing’s senior director, Stefan Weitz: “Bing includes millions of free listings from merchants and rankings are determined entirely by which products are most relevant to your query. While merchants can pay fees for inclusion on our 3rd party shopping sites and subsequently may appear in Bing Shopping through partnerships we have, we do not rank merchants higher based on who pays us, nor do we let merchants pay to have their product offers placed higher in Bing Shopping’s search results.”
Google has said that ranking is based on a combination of relevance and bid price.
“Google now wants to break the rules that made it a trusted brand,” says Nichols. “They argue that the difference between answers and ads is shrinking. ‘After all,’ they recently said, ‘ads are just more answers to users’ queries.’”
“Shoppers visit the site they have used for years, conduct what they think is a ‘search,’ and get a set of rankings that look like the objective results Google delivers elsewhere,” he says. “Meanwhile, the lawyers at Google are now calling it a ‘listing.’ They even call out – hidden behind a disclaimer or buried in a footer — ‘Payment is one of several factors used to rank these results.’ Consumers are potentially getting a raw deal because ‘relevance’ is now influenced by how much Google is getting paid, not just by things that matter to shoppers. We, of course, accept enhanced listings and advertisements just like other search engines. But at Bing, we just feel Google should distinguish ads clearly from search results and not use payment as a factor in ranking shopping search results.’”
On Google’s regular search results pages, when Shopping results do appear, they are clearly marked as “sponsored”. It is true that any disclaimer is a little less obvious when you actually go to Google Shopping, the destination. This disclaimer Nichols mentioned is found if you click on the link at the top of Shopping search results page, which says, “Why these products?”
It probably doesn’t help Google’s case that there is a set of more traditional-looking search ads at the bottom, which say something like, “Ads related to waffle irons”.
But on the other hand, I’m not sure consumers have ever cared so much about whether or not product search results were paid inclusion or not. It would be interesting to know how many shoppers are starting their product searches from the Google Shopping destination anyway. If you search for “waffle irons” on (which seems like a far more likely scenario than starting from – even if you search Google for “Google shopping” you’re taken to, the top results are ads, followed by a set of results from Google Shopping, which are clearly marked as sponsored. The first organic results take you to places like Amazon, BestBuy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc.
Google, of course, maintains that the paid inclusion model works better for quality of results.
“We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date,” said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping. “Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.”
It’s worth noting that Google is already losing shopping-related searches to Amazon (which has not participated in the new Google Shopping, but is usually easily found in top Google search results for products).
We’ve discussed the issues businesses have with Google Shopping multiple times in the past. That’s one thing. As a consumer, do you think you’re betting “Scroogled” by Google Shopping? Will you use Bing Shopping? Let us know in the comments.
About Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Bing Just Launched A New iPhone App Called Edibly

Bing Just Launched A New iPhone App Called Edibly 
Bing announced today that it is launching a new iPhone app called Edibly in the U.S., though technically, you have to be in Seattle to use it (at least for now).
It’s a shopping app upon which Microsoft has collaborated with The Pike Place Market Preservation And Development Authority. It’s piloting the offering in Seattle, but perhaps it will be expanded throughout the country and with other markets.
“Created by the Bing team, Edibly lets you see what’s new at the market via the ‘What’s New Page’, search and browse through products, create a shopping list to prepare for your outing and navigate through the market using the digital map,” says Christian Marc Schmidt, Senior UX Designer on Bing’s Information, Platform and Experiences Team.
The app will let you preview what is available at the store and view and compare products. You can see where vendors and products you want are on a map, in addition to just looking at what’s new.
This could be an interesting app if expanded to include other stores and obviously other locations. I guess that will depend on how the pilot goes, and if Microsoft is able to get other partners on board.
About Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.


iPhone 5 Production Leads To Strike At Foxconn

Last month, a riot broke out at Foxconn’s Tiayuan facility over the alleged beating of a worker. The riot ended with 40 injuries and several arrests. At a different factory, the workers have went on strike to protest the unfair working conditions put on them by Foxconn and Apple.
According to China Labor Watch, up to four thousand workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory have gone on strike. The workers are protesting the “overly strict demands on product quality without worker training” that has led to fights between general workers and the quality control team. Even worse, supervisors ignored the complaints from both workers and quality control.
The catalyst for the strike appears to be the strict new quality guidelines that Apple has put into place. The company now expects workers to turn out devices with indentations of 0.2mm and that not a single scratch be present on frames and back covers. The workers were already having a tough time meeting Apple’s demands, but they soon found that they would not receive a vacation during the holiday.
The quality control workers have gone on strike to protest the harsh treatment they have received from workers. A fight broke out between the workers and the quality control team that led to injuries and some hospitalizations. Their strike has prevented the general workers from being able to contine with assembly, and multiple production lines have been stopped as a result.
The iPhone 5 is a truly marvelous device. That being said, people must remember the actual human effort that went into making the device. The consumer may appreciate Apple’s high standards, but those same high standards are causing undue stress on the Chinese workers that assemble and inspect the devices.
Apple has repeatedly said that they are committed to improving the working conditions at Foxconn’s factories, but it’s looking like their efforts aren’t doing much to stem the tide of riots and protests.

About Zach Walton
Zach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

Microsoft Updating Built-In Apps Ahead Of Windows 8 Release

Microsoft Updating Built-In Apps Ahead Of Windows 8 Release
After years of waiting, Windows 8 will finally launch later this month on October 26. Microsoft is going to party like its 1995, and show the world that Windows 8 is the company’s most substantial release since Windows 95. To help get started, the company is updating all the built-in apps that Windows 8 users will be greeted with when they first turn the machine on.
Microsoft announced yesterday that they will be slowly rolling out updates through the Windows Store up through the launch of Windows 8. The updates can be downloaded by anybody who has the RTM version of Windows 8 that was released in August. Microsoft says that the Windows Store tile will notify users of any current updates available for all currently installed apps.
The first updated app out of the gate today is the Bing app. Beyond that, pretty much every included app in Windows 8 will be getting substantial updates as head towards the official launch of the new operating system. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience
  • Custom sort order
  • Photos

  • Crop and rotate photos
  • New auto-curated collage slideshows
  • View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library such as Windows Home Server, network shares, and HomeGroups
  • Move through photos in your Pictures Library even when you open them from the desktop
  • Maps

  • Bird’s eye view
  • 3,000+ indoor venue maps
  • Driving directions hints
  • Improved navigation and layout
  • Improved customization, including custom pushpins and roaming options
  • Integration with Bing and Travel apps
  • Bing

  • Richer search results for local content and images
  • Bing rewards integration
  • Use zoom on your search results to see related queries
  • Use the file picker to select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps
  • Music

  • Expanded music services
  • Rich “Now Playing” experience
  • Discover more music with SmartDJ
  • Games

  • Exciting new games
  • In-game purchasing
  • Invites and turn notifications
  • You can check out the rest of the updates over at Microsoft’s original blog post. There’s some good stuff on the way for the Windows 8 faithful. It appears that most of these updates will go into effect before Windows 8 launches for everyone. It looks like the proud tradition of downloading updates on the day of release will be continued with Windows 8.

    About Zach Walton
    Zach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    Buying used car online


    Buying a used car Online is easy, quick and safe process that does not involve any hassles.
    Now you can find all the used cars online. It saves precious time & money of the buyer, which was otherwise spent in finding the right car and the right dealer when online facility was not available. Buying used car online also offers the best car prices to the buyer. It takes just a click and the desire to buy the car of your dreams.

    E4drive is built on a strong platform and advance architectural design which enables our customer to find the car as they want. We try to get as much information as possible from the sellers to help the buyers know the real condition of the cars. Today’s technology has improved cars a lot in terms of safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy. It is also good to know about the safety features available in today’s cars.
    Everyone dreams to have a car that is brand new model but if you buy used cars that are just like the brand new ones you save on a lot of money. These days used cars are becoming a trend and people are becoming wiser to have used cars rather than spending a huge amount on buying brand new cars.
    If you plan to buy best used cars  through e4drive, our vehicle specialist will contact you quickly and help you through the entire car buying process.
    Find out more about insurance packages that suits your needs, community classifieds, special finance deals and valuable car buying tips at e4drive - one of Australia's best premium auto website (

    Wednesday, 22 August 2012

    iPhone 5 Release Date Is September 21, According To Report

    iPhone 5 Release Date Is September 21, According To Report
    Previous rumors had the iPhone 5 release date pegged for the third or fourth week of September, and a new report appears to confirm, going a step further and marking the date of September 21.
    TechCrunch reporter Jordan Crook cites a “trusted Verizon employee” as confirming that the company is having an all-staff vacation blackout from that date through the 30th, and that the 21st – a Friday – is indeed the launch date.
    Apple is expected to unveil the device on September 12 (likely without the actual “iPhone 5″ name), as the company has been said to have an event planned for that day. As Crook points out, the timeline would fall in line with last year’s release of the iPhone 4S (though that was in October).
    So what does Apple have in store for users? Well, we’ll have to wait and see to be sure, but you can read about the rumors here. Of course, we’ve already been schooled on iOS 6.
    As far as the release date, we’ll leave it in the “rumor” file, as nothing official has been revealed yet, but I’d say this one has a pretty good shot at being legit.

    About Chris Crum
    Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest 

    Chrome OS Gets Some User Interface Tweaks

    Chrome OS Gets Some User Interface Tweaks
    Is it just me or is Chrome OS getting more and more WIndows-looking? Remember, when you just signed in, and you were in Chrome, and that was basically it?
    Google has gradually added more of a traditional operating system-like interface to its OS, and that continues today with the latest stable update, which introduces a new redesigned app list (pictured above).
    “Notably, we made the apps list much more compact, so you can access your apps without interrupting your browsing experience,” says Google software engineer Xiyuan Xia. “We also added a search box at the top of the apps list, which you can use like an omnibox to search the web, specific websites, or the apps on your computer.”
    There’s also a new print UI, which has been available in the beta release for over a month. It integrates your printers in Google Cloud Print into the Chrome print dialog, so you can print to a cloud-ready printer, Google Drive, Chrome on your mobile device or to Fed Ex Offices.
    Chrome Print UI
    Other new changes in the latest stable update include:
    • You can select your own custom wallpaper
    • New, offline-capable Google Docs app
    • Update Adobe Flash to version
    • Flash Access Support
    • Seccomp Flash sandbox
    • New Shill connection manager
    • WiMax support in Shill
    • LTE Support for modem manager
    • Support Standard USB audio devices
    • Support wireless (bluetooth and others) Gamepads
    • Update GTalk Plug-In to version 3.3.3
    • Update Netflix Plug-in to version 2.0.5
    • Kernel rebased to 3.4
    • Gestures: support 3-finger tap/click as middle button
    • Resolved issues Samsung users were experiencing with Verizon Wireless activation
    “The Stable channel has been updated to 21.0.1183.0 (Platform version: 2465.127.0) for Chromebooks (Acer AC700, Samsung Series 5 550, Samsung Series 5, and Cr-48) and Samsung Chromebox Series 3,” says Google’s Josafat Garcia.

    About Chris Crum
    Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.