Bing head says 'traditional search' is dying

Microsoft's Bing search engine director, Stefan Weitz, tells the Huffington Post that the traditional methods of search are "failing" as new ideas take hold.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Microsoft's Bing search engine director, Stefan Weitz, made his stance on search very clear in a recent interview with the Huffington Post.

"Search itself hasn't changed fundamentally in the past 12 years," he told the Huffington Post in the interview published yesterday. "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."

Weitz specifically targeted Google, saying that the company's idea of the "connection between" Web sites to determine results ranking was a "brilliant, brilliant model." But, he says, it doesn't work any longer. And the time has come for search companies to appeal to the new needs of users.

To apparently achieve that goal, Microsoft unveiled a new feature for Bing earlier this week that uses Facebook "likes" to improve a user's search results. For example, if a user tries to find a new restaurant in their city, Bing will push establishments that the respective user's friends have liked on Facebook higher in its search results. For the new feature to work, the user must be logged in to Bing and Facebook at the same time.

"We're trying to infuse this idea of emotion into the decision engine," Bing director Stefan Weitz said in a statement earlier this week.

But it goes beyond that. Weitz said that Bing's goal for the future of search is "literally to deliver knowledge by understanding intent." Ultimately, the company wants to take the heavy lifting out of searching for content and deliver to users the information they want as quickly and seamlessly as possible, he told the Huffington Post.

Of course, Google isn't just sitting still. Earlier this year, the company unveiled its "+1" experimental feature, which lets users give kudos to solid search results. Those votes, which are the company's best answer yet to Facebook's "like" feature, help other users searching for the same topic find better results.

"The beauty of +1's is their relevance," a post on the official Google blog announcing the new feature read. "You get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic), and in the right format (your search results)."

But Bing has more to worry about than just Google's new features. According to research firm ComScore, Google owned 65.4 percent of the U.S. search market in April. Bing was able to generate just 14.1 percent market share, while Yahoo accommodated 15.9 percent of the searches last month.