Microsoft: We Don’t Censor Search Outside China

bing-china-600 Bing censors search results in China in accordance with Chinese law. But does it do so in the US and elsewhere around the world for Chinese users? That disturbing proposition was raised yesterday in an article appearing in The Guardian. The article asserted that Bing search results for Chinese language speakers in the US were radically different than those in English for controversial terms such as Tiananmen Square or Dalai Lama: Microsoft’s search engine Bing appears to be censoring information for Chinese language users in the US in the same way it filters results in mainland China. S [...]

Bing Adds Boatload Of New “Venue Maps” For International Markets

Microsoft announced today, that in conjunction with Nokia, Bing has added "more than 2,700 venue maps" in North America, Europe and Asia. You can access them online at ("explore venue maps"). In the US and UK markets venue (indoor) maps are also available on Windows Phones and through the Bing app for the iPhone. The following are the categories of venue maps on Bing (numbers indicate coverage in the US): Airports (85) Amusement Parks (1) Casinos (25) Community Centers (1) Convention Centers (2) Hotels (2) Malls (1370) Museums (1) [...]

Microsoft Turns Off Streetside Imagery In Germany Over Photo Blurring Concerns

bing-microsoft-streetside Here's a shocker*: Microsoft's Streetside service has hit a bumpy road in Germany. The company says it's shut down Streetside imagery in Germany after complaints about the way the company was handling blurring requests. Microsoft spokesperson Thomas Baumgartner tells PCWorld that he's not sure if or when Streetside will be reinstated in Germany. A Microsoft statement says that the complaints are from "customers," not from any government data protection-related agencies. We have learned that there are a limited number of customers in Germany who raised concerns about the way we are pur [...]

Microsoft-Yahoo Ad Transition Wrapping Up In UK, Ireland & France

microsoft-yahoo-logos Yahoo search users in the UK, Ireland and France will start to see ads from Microsoft's adCenter next week, as the two companies wrap up the transition that began in 2009 with the MSFT-Yahoo search alliance. As part of the transition, search advertisers that are still on Yahoo's platform in those countries will need to migrate to adCenter because Yahoo Search Marketing accounts will shift to read-only status. But, in a blog post today about the pending change, Microsoft suggests monitoring both accounts during the transition: As Yahoo! ad serving moves to adCenter, and your clicks and im [...]

Under Threat Of Being Blocked Google, Facebook Comply With India’s New Internet Censorship Rules

After China and the US, India is the third largest internet market in the world. But India has philosophically aligned itself more with China in pursuing a policy of censorship toward publication of content deemed "offensive" or "objectionable" by individuals, groups or the government. A recently enacted law seeks to remove all such content from the internet in India. Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft were sued under the law and had been arguing in Indian court that it was all but impossible for them to comply as a practical matter. The law makes online publishers potentially liable for [...]

Bing Out Of “Betaphase” In Germany, Claims 10 Million Users

bing-germany-featured Bing is reportedly now out of betaphase in Deutschland. According to Microsoft, Bing has 10 million users or 20 percent of active internet users in Germany: Mittlerweile benutzen fast 10 Millionen Nutzer in Deutschland regelmäßig Bing, das sind 20 Prozent der aktiven Internetnutzer hierzulande. According to several third-party sources, Bing's market share is smaller than the 20 percent figure cited above. For example, the following is StatCounter's search engine data for Germany: Source: StatCounter NetMarketshare generally agrees, showing Bing's PC search share at just ove [...]

Report: Bing To Power Baidu English Results

bing-baidu-featured China's dominant search engine Baidu is trying to expand its reach beyond Chinese-language speakers. Reuters is reporting that Baidu and Microsoft have done a deal that will offer Bing powered English-language results for the Chinese search engine. It's not clear whether this is limited to China or will be used in other markets where English is spoken. We've asked Microsoft for some additional color and perspective. Baidu controls roughly 80 percent of the search market in China, according to several sources. Google is second with approximately 19 percent. A Bloomberg report suggests [...]

Bing’s Streetside Already Facing Objections In Germany

Well, that didn't take long. Just days after announcing plans to operate its Streetside map/photo service in Germany, Microsoft is already dealing with its first governmental objection. Thomas Kranig, head of the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection, has issued a statement (in German; here's a Google translation to English) giving objections to Bing's plans for letting residents opt-out of Streetside photography. In short, Kranig says Bing should allow residents to opt-out before any photographs are published online. Bing's plan is to publish the photographs first and then allow re [...]

Bing Now Powering Yahoo Search In 3 More Countries

Readers outside the US may want to know that the Yahoo-Bing search transition is now complete in three more countries. According to this Yahoo blog post, Bing is now powering the Yahoo back-end for organic search in: Australia Brazil Mexico Bing started powering Yahoo's organic results in the US and Canada last August. [...]

Google-Yahoo Deal Is Cleared In Japan

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has given its approval to a partnership that allows Yahoo Japan to use Google search results. According to Reuters, Japan's FTC has promised to monitor the alliance for possible violations of the country's anti-monopoly laws. Yahoo Japan, which is controlled by Softbank with Yahoo Inc. as a minor owner, announced in July that it would use Google's search results instead of Yahoo's (and then Bing's when that partnership was implemented over the summer). Days later, Microsoft announced its intention to challenge the Google-Yahoo Japan deal. As a minority owner, [...]

MSFT Will Challenge Google-Yahoo Japan Deal

In a move that should surprise no one, Microsoft says it will try to block the recently announced Google-Yahoo Japan partnership. In our story from Tuesday, a Microsoft senior VP spoke out strongly against the partnership. Now, Silican Alley Insider received confirmation last night that the company will take steps to challenge it formally. "We plan to present evidence to the Japanese FTC explaining why we believe that this deal is substantially more harmful to competition than Google's deal with Yahoo in 2008 that the DOJ found to be illegal," says a Microsoft rep. Also reported in o [...]

Yahoo Japan Switches To Google, Microsoft Calls It ‘Anti-Competitive’

AllThingsD reported that the Softbank majority owned Yahoo Japan has decided to replace Yahoo Search (soon Yahoo-Bing) with Google. Yahoo owns a minority stake in Yahoo Japan and so can't control or block the decision. According to a statement released by Yahoo it will "support" the deal as it is contractually bound to do: Yahoo! Japan announced that it has chosen to implement Google as its backend algorithmic search engine and paid search infrastructure. Yahoo! Japan made this decision as an independent and separate publicly traded company, in which Yahoo! holds a 35% equity interest. [...]

EU To Search Engines: Get Rid Of Your Data, No Keep It

Arguing forcefully that it's necessary to protect privacy, the "Article 29 Working Party" of the European Parliament has been trying to get search engines to cut their search data retention to six months. But in a crazy turn of events, a proposal that would directly contradict those efforts and require retention for up to 2 years has been submitted for potential adoption by the European Parliament. The "European Data Retention Directive," being pushed by some members of Parliament, would be extended to search engines and ask them to hold on to search data for six months to 2 years. Ac [...]

Watch The New Bing UK Commercial

Bing sent me a link to their new UK Bing commercial. The new UK ad blitz by Microsoft is aimed at capturing market share from Google in that region. Here is that commercial. [...]

Microsoft To Launch Bing Ads In UK vs. “Goliath”

Microsoft is about to roll out a "a multimillion-pound TV ad campaign" for Bing in the UK market, where it has less than a 5 percent share of searches. Google by contrast has roughly 90 percent. According to the Guardian: The ads feature ordinary people asking for information and receiving nonsensical, "speaking-in-tongues" answers; one early spot has a woman seeking directions to Euston station. The TV campaign will run solidly for a month and then in two-week bursts until mid-June. It will be backed by a digital campaign across Microsoft's network and on media including social networking [...]

Bing Maps Rolls Out Its Largest Image Update

Bing Maps has rolled out what Microsoft is calling its "largest amount of new imagery ever in terms of square kilometers." Apparently that represents 6.7 million square kilometers. There's new aerial and Bird's Eye imagery across many countries on several continents. The full list is below. The Bing Maps World Tour shows the updates on the map. [...]

Ballmer Blogs His Thoughts On Google, China

Both current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former CEO Bill Gates have recently spoken out critically about Google's stance on doing business in China. (See my previous posts, Ballmer Critical Of Google’s China Decision and Like Ballmer, Bill Gates Dings Google On China.) Now, Ballmer is putting his thoughts in writing ... well, electronic writing ... via a post on Microsoft's new blog. Says Ballmer: Engagement in China and around the world is very important to us, in part because we believe it accelerates access to 21st century technology and services and helps provide the widest po [...]

Microsoft Complies With EU Demand, First To Cut Data Retention To Six Months

Microsoft is the first of the major search engines to agree to the European Union's demand that data retention be cut to six months. The company will now completely delete IP addresses after six months. Here's what Microsoft said on the Bing community blog about the move: Today we sent a letter to the Article 29 Working Party notifying them of our intention to make a change to Bing’s data retention policy. Specifically, we are reducing the amount of time we store IP addresses from searchers to 6 months.  Currently we keep that information for 18 months before we delete it.  Generally, [...]

Chinese Gov’t Offers Bland Statement On Google, Employees Given Indefinite Holiday

It's an open secret that the Chinese government and related Chinese companies conduct espionage against Western governments and companies operating both in and outside China. The Google GMail attacks represent a kind of "last straw" scenario. And it's all but certain that this episode was either initiated by the government or done with government knowledge or support. Hence the Google ultimatum to the Chinese and the US State Department's relatively direct statement, "We look to the Chinese government for an explanation." However the Chinese government, for its part, issued a bland statemen [...]

Microsoft Hopes To Grow “Bee-Ying” (Bing) Share In China

Reuters published an article today in which Microsoft asserts that China is its top search priority: "Microsoft is committed to the China market and the search market in China is the most important strategic market for Microsoft," the company said on Tuesday in emailed responses to questions from Reuters. China has the largest internet and mobile markets in the world; the scale is massive and the obvious basis for the quote above. There are 350 million Chinese Internet users and 700 million mobile phone subscribers according to various estimates. However, the Reuters piece pegs the value of [...]

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