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March 21, 2017updated 13 Oct 2022 4:20pm

What is Bing?

By Ellie Burns

Bing is a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft and is the latest iteration of past engines such as MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search.

Bing (image: Shutterstock)

Unveiled by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2009, the search engine is currently the second largest in the US, sitting around 7% behind Google’s substantial 87% share of the market.

Bing has a broad range of features, from advanced filters which allow users to refine search results, to image and video search. Its instant answers feature spans sports, finance, dictionary, calculations, flight tracking. translation and conversion of units, among others.

Why is it called Bing?

The search engine was given its name after being chosen through focus groups, with Microsoft settling on the name as it would remind people of the sound made at ‘the moment of discovery and decision making.’

David Webster, an advertising strategist at Microsoft, had originally proposed ‘bang’ for much of the same reasons that ‘Bing’ was suggested. However, ‘bang’ did not make the cut after it was realised that it could not be properly used as a verb for searching the internet. Webster remarked that ‘I banged’ had vastly different connotations to ‘I binged’.

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