This Bing thing has potential, but there are a few teething problems, as you may expect from a new search engine.
Well it’s not exactly brand new, Microsoft have had a search engine since 1998 (powered by third parties), and have had their own Microsoft powered search engine since 2004.
So I was having a look at Bing xRank, which on the surface looks to be a sweat shop counterfeit of Google Trends. But after digging slightly deeper, it becomes clear that it’s purely about famous people. It includes the trend for searches on their name, a biography, and media which features them.
I can see that this search functionality would be useful for journalists, music & sport enthusiasts and celebrity spotters. So I have to get over the fact that I’m not the desired user… but I still can’t ignore some vital flaws in the system.
Bing xRank has the following features :
- Search for a name and they will tell you who they are and how they rate.
- Browse a bio or get the latest news headlines about the person you’re interested in.
- Explore a celebrity’s latest videos, images, movies, albums, etc.
- Discover relationships among notable people. Thumbnail photos at the bottom of xRank show you the associates, friends, enemies, and romances, of that person.
- Look over the rankings for names that interest you. Arrow icons show how their movement is trending.
- View a person’s popularity over the past six months on the xRank History chart.
These last two items are very Google Trendy.
They have suggested ‘Related Searches’, but mostly these are not people but related items such as albums, news stories, lyrics, etc. So when you actually click on any of them, they almost always bring you to a ‘no results’ page.
Surely they could determine whether they have xRank results, or whether these related searches should point to a standard web search.
I tried 50 cent in the searches, as he seems to be trending in xRank, but it looks like Microsoft is getting confused with stock market results, house prices and other things that include percentages. I feel this may be skewing Mr Bling’s trend results.
I also tried searching for The Pope. No results, so I assume I’m being ignorant by not specifying which one. And after selecting the suggested search result of Pope Benedict then Pope John Paul II – still no results. OK maybe he’s not got an album out at the moment, but neither has Paris Hilton*, and she’s got an xRank bio page!
And John Lennon will be smiling from above, because acording to Bing xRank, he is bigger than Jesus.
*Slight edit – Paris Hilton does have an album, which she released in 2006, and she’s working on her next one now.