Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives
I contacted Microsoft and asked a simple question: "Am I going bonkers?"
I felt the company's spokeswoman all too readily to reply "you must be the last to know," before I added: "Has your Bing Translator page suddenly been featuring a big Microsoft logo?"
You see, very occasionally, I lurch to Bing just to see what's going on there. And last week, when I clicked onto its Bing Translator link, I was confronted with a big "Microsoft Translator" at the top.
I felt sure I hadn't seen this before. Hence, my inquiry to Redmond.
"You aren't going bonkers," the company's spokeswoman told me. "There were in fact some recent branding changes to make it clear it [Bing Translator] was powered by the same tech used across the other Translator apps, API and live feature."
This was soothing to my soul, though a further explanation from the spokeswoman gave me an idea.
"It's the same Microsoft Translator technology as before," she said, "available via the Bing search engine."
Which, because my soul has mischievous parts, told me that someone at Microsoft might be beginning to wonder whether the Microsoft brand isn't much stronger than Bing.
Does anyone really have a deep, abiding respect for the Bing brand? Somehow, if ever I've heard the brand name being used, it seems to be in the context of a joke.
That doesn't mean the service itself is to be derided. It does suggest, though, that the brand name doesn't incite passion or excesses of reverence.
The Microsoft brand, on the other hand, has become much stronger under Satya Nadella's stewardship. It's gained respect. Especially when the companyand made Apple's offerings look decidedly bland.
Where once Microsoft was a joke in an Apple ad, now it's a symbol of a resurgent company that's trying new things and sometimes even succeeding.
The funny thing about Bing is that it's not an unsuccessful product -- at least not as unsuccessful as some might imagine.
Last year, Redmond said it has a 9 percent worldwide search market share, enjoying a 25 percent share in the UK, 18 percent in France and 17 percent in Canada.
And look at the US. Microsoft says it has a 33 percent share here.
Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that going all the way with Microsoft branding and letting Bing drift into the retirement home for funny names might be a positive move?
Wouldn't you rather try Microsoft Search than Bing Search?
I asked the spokeswoman the question. Is this little so-called branding change on Translator the harbinger of bigger things to come?
"We do not have plans to rename Bing search at this time," she said.
At this time.