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Bing outage shows just how little competition Google search really has

Google logo on a phone in front of a Bing logo in the background

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Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, crashed very early in the morning today. This meant that searches from Microsoft’s Edge browsers that hadn’t yet changed default providers didn’t work. This also meant that services relying on Bing’s search API (Microsoft’s Copilot, ChatGPT search, Yahoo, Ecosia, and DuckDuckGo) were similarly failing.

Services were largely restored during morning Eastern business hours, but the timing appears appropriate, concerning, or a combination of both. Google, the consistently dominant search platform, announced last week and launched AI Previews as a default addition to all searches. If you don’t want an AI response but still want to use Google, you can search for the new “Web” option in a menu, or you can, according to Ernie Smith, add “&udm=14” to your search or use Smith. own “Konami Code” shortcut page.

If you’re concerned about dismay over AI hallucinations, power consumption or pizza recipes – as well as perhaps broader Google issues involving privacy, tracking, news, SEO or monopoly power – most of your other major options were destroyed by a single API outage this morning. . Getting past this kind of single point of vulnerability will take work, both on the part of the industry and on the part of you, the person wondering if there is a real alternative.

Search engine market share, as measured by StatCounter, April 2023-April 2024.

Search engine market share, as measured by StatCounter, April 2023-April 2024.

CounterStatistics

More than a billion dollars per year

The overwhelming majority of search tools offering an “alternative” to Google use Google, Bing, or Yandex, the three major search engines that maintain massive global indexes. Yandex, being based in Russia, is currently a failure for many people around the world. Bing offers its services widely, including to DuckDuckGo, but its advertising-based revenue model and privacy idiosyncrasies have caused friction there in the past. Before his company was able to block more tracking scripts from Microsoft, DuckDuckGo CEO and founder Gabriel Weinberg explained in a Reddit response why companies like his don’t go the full DIY route :

…(We) get most of our traditional links and images privately from Bing… In reality, only two companies (Google and Microsoft) have a global index of high-quality web links (because I think it costs more billion dollars per year). ), and so literally every other global search engine has to start with one or both to provide a mainstream search product. The same goes for maps: only the biggest companies can afford to install satellites and send cars to the ground to take photos of every neighborhood.

Bing brings money to Microsoft, even profits. It’s in Microsoft’s best interest to keep its search index stocked and its API open, even as it focuses almost entirely on its own AI chatbot version of Bing. Yet if Microsoft decided to remove API access, or if it became unreliable, Google’s default position would be even stronger. What then would be the choice of the non-conformists?

News Source : arstechnica.com
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