Bing's answer to Google's instant search: HTML5

When Google introduced their instant live search earlier this week, some curious web enthusiasts looked towards Bing to answer back at Google, including Long Zheng from istartedsomething.

Back in August 2009, Long Zheng developed a tool using Bing's public API's that gave the search engine an instant live search. What's more shocking is, this could have easily been added to Bing, with as much as a simple JavaScript file, according to Zheng.

12-months later and Bing still hasn't included any feature similar to instant search, however, during Apple WWDC 2010, Bing showed off a brand new version of the site, powered by HTML5 with some very exciting and cool features.

The early future Bing preview showed a smooth transition between your query and your results, a feature close to instant search. The HTML5 version of Bing also included a quick tab preview of weather, maps and other features just by hovering over the menus, reducing the amount of clicks and page loading.

The video also demonstrates a brand new mobile version of Bing, including endless image scrolling and seamless transitions between images, all using the iPhone or iPod's touch screen. The mobile Bing preview also includes the background image, giving the appearance of a native app, all within Safari.

Bing in HTML5 could be Microsoft's response to Google's instant search, and we could likely see this being released by the first quarter of next year, right around the Internet Explorer 9 launch.

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In response tpo JSYOUNG571...

I get your point and while its valid I also feel that Microsoft is being smart. They are positioning themselves on multiple platforms to make sure their brand is on every device. Google & Apple aren't so friendly anymore and Microsoft is doing the right thing to step in and place their products where google's products used to be. We all know IE9 and WP7 will have those features as well. Microsoft would never ignore its own offerings. Hope you get my point.

I'm so impressed with all that HTML5 is bringing to the table at this point. I can't wait to see all the innovations that web developers are going to integrates into websites. Im all for dynamic content and less clicking to get to what you want. Also I'm excited for IE9 because it seems to be very standard compliant and it seems almost all browsers are converging. This is good because I won't have to spend so much time coding for different browsers. If it works on one it should work on another.

WTF is going on with Microsoft? Have they totally forgotten their own followers? You are advertising a better version of Bing for Apple first. You are using an iPhone and Safari browser to demonstrate how the new Bing will work, when you have a new Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer 9 coming soon. Microsoft has gotten in a bad habit like crack heads catering to competition and making their followers last. You expect me to buy a Windows Phone 7 while you all have your head up Apple's ass… STRAIGHT BS!

JSYOUNG571 said,
WTF is going on with Microsoft? Have they totally forgotten their own followers? You are advertising a better version of Bing for Apple first. You are using an iPhone and Safari browser to demonstrate how the new Bing will work, when you have a new Windows Phone 7 and Internet Explorer 9 coming soon. Microsoft has gotten in a bad habit like crack heads catering to competition and making their followers last. You expect me to buy a Windows Phone 7 while you all have your head up Apple's ass… STRAIGHT BS!

this was at WWDC stop being a weirdo

What the heck? Micrsoft is showing us a demo of their search engine using a MAC? Ohh' can't belive this, where is B.Gates? ;(

greenwizard88 said,
LOL at calling the mac a PC on stage like that.

Technically they are all personal computers. A mac is a PC with a mac OS on it.

The Bing team are always better at innovating search compared to Google. Give it a year and watch Google copy everything shown in that video.

dotf said,

because it's all done on a canvas element.

No it isn't. Objects on a canvas element are animated via javascript. They're also styled via javascript. In the video he specifically says the items are animated with CSS transforms.

So anyone else think that Instant Search was implemented as a means to drive up search volume, and make the search marketshare analysis totally invalid? With instant search, how will anyone really be able to tell how much people are using Google vs. Bing?

Not saying I believe this, but I've seen it speculated elsewhere...

JonathanMarston said,
So anyone else think that Instant Search was implemented as a means to drive up search volume, and make the search marketshare analysis totally invalid? With instant search, how will anyone really be able to tell how much people are using Google vs. Bing?

Not saying I believe this, but I've seen it speculated elsewhere...

If you have a means of measuring page loads (ie. the results page) then you can measure it as you always have. With instant search the results page is still loading the exact same amount of times (1), it's merely making server side requests and dynamically updating content.

geoken said,

If you have a means of measuring page loads (ie. the results page) then you can measure it as you always have. With instant search the results page is still loading the exact same amount of times (1), it's merely making server side requests and dynamically updating content.

Regardless of the method used to dynamically fetch the new content, the results are being displayed in an IFRAME. Every time the IFRAME loads, it's the equivalent of a page load. Every advertising customer paying Google on a CPM basis will be getting ripped off since the majority of the impressions will only be for a fleeting moment.

It's nice to see HTML5 in action with Bing. It feels like it's really going to change the web for the better. With the release of IE9, just about every major browser will support it. And once major companies start implementing HTML5 (Microsoft, Google, etc), the web will definitely be a better place.

Anaron said,
It's nice to see HTML5 in action with Bing. It feels like it's really going to change the web for the better. With the release of IE9, just about every major browser will support it. And once major companies start implementing HTML5 (Microsoft, Google, etc), the web will definitely be a better place.

Except there's no HTML 5 here. Just plain jane AJAX and CSS3 transitions.

The Bing team has a schedule of a major release every 6 months, you'll start seeing these updates in december, not next year.

Dead'Soul said,
microsoft does not have a browser that use their own technology... the used safari what a shame

It was shown at WWDC..which, guess what, is an Apple event.

Dead'Soul said,
microsoft does not have a browser that use their own technology... the used safari what a shame
Yes, as a matter of fact they do: Internet Explorer 9. Also, this was shown at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). It makes sense for them to showcase the HTML5 version of Bing with Safari. It'd be a slap in the face to Apple enthusiasts for them to showcase it with IE9.

Dead'Soul said,
microsoft does not have a browser that use their own technology... the used safari what a shame

Microsoft, as opposed to say, Google, takes pride of making stuff that works well with others, like HTML5 made by Microsoft that works well in Safari, as opposed to Google's HTML5 experiments that only work on Chrome for no reason at all.

Charles Keledjian said,

Microsoft, as opposed to say, Google, takes pride of making stuff that works well with others, like HTML5 made by Microsoft that works well in Safari, as opposed to Google's HTML5 experiments that only work on Chrome for no reason at all.

Can you point out which ones? I just visited chrome experiments in FF4 and had no problem playing with any of them.

So, how is "HTML5" essential here? What do MS use "HTML5" for here? What does this imply as for cross-browser compatibility, since HTML5 isn't well supported these days, and even the latest IE 9 Preview fails miserably on html5test.com.

I guess no one can answer these questions, because these days, reporters throw around "HTML5" like it's some sort of feature that does all sorts of magic to websites. "It makes things fast and shiny". No one cares for what part of the HTML5 standard is used and how it's supported. No one decides to dig further into it. HTML5 has stopped being a bunch of incomplete standards, and turned into a marketing word. It's like the Megapixels hysteria all over again (oh wait, sorry, it hasn't ended yet).

HTML5 is the new AJAX.

Northgrove said,
So, how is "HTML5" essential here? What do MS use "HTML5" for here? What does this imply as for cross-browser compatibility, since HTML5 isn't well supported these days, and even the latest IE 9 Preview fails miserably on html5test.com.

IE9 supports HTML5 better than most browsers. html5test.com is a pointless test.

Northgrove said,
<snip>

+1. The AJAX/HTML5 comparison is spot on, no one knows what it is actually but everyone wants it because it makes things cool. Oh look a beautiful website with purple and orange, must be HTML5 !

Northgrove said,
even the latest IE 9 Preview fails miserably on html5test.com.
Just under 100 out of 300 points is not "failing miserably". Firefox 3.6 only gets 143 (though, yes, Fx4 is somewhat higher).

Yes, it does seem to be a bit of a buzzword now, like Web2.0. But I can't really blame the developers or media for not wishing to to list all the related tech individually - it's boring and, tbh, unnecessary - especially for a quick presentation like the one above.

pezzonovante said,
IE9 supports HTML5 better than most browsers. html5test.com is a pointless test.
I do believe you need to back that up with evidence.

From the way he explained it it doesn't have anything to do with HTML 5. Refresh free updating is obviously done via ajax, and he specifically mentioned the animation was done using CSS transitions (and translations since they're necessary for transitions).

I guess saying 'check out our CSS3 powered thing" isn't as cool as saying "check out our new HTML5 powered thing".

This is all well and good but if instant search is anything to go by then by the time Microsoft actually implements this Google will have already beaten them to the punch.

i appreciate what google have done with instant search and have used google 90% of the time for many years, but lately that 90% is slowly slipping down and i am starting to like bing more

i do not see the point of google instant search though, i type too fast or my internet is too slow, so when i go to google i know what i want to search for and type at my fast typing speed, so instant search is of no use to me

i like this html 5 bing though, i think it looks awesome

i think it is strange though that they are promoting apple in a way? why are they using safari and not IE9?

interesting

kevcampbell said,
i appreciate what google have done with instant search and have used google 90% of the time for many years, but lately that 90% is slowly slipping down and i am starting to like bing more

i do not see the point of google instant search though, i type too fast or my internet is too slow, so when i go to google i know what i want to search for and type at my fast typing speed, so instant search is of no use to me

i like this html 5 bing though, i think it looks awesome

i think it is strange though that they are promoting apple in a way? why are they using safari and not IE9?

interesting

This video is from WWDC from what I've read.

Why would you even go to google if you know what you want to search for? Doesn't your browser have an area where you can input text and have it directly take you to the results page of your choosing? I was under the impression that this feature exists in every browser.

Danielr0y said,
I'm confused as to why Microsoft has targeted this specifically at the Mac platform. ...for now, at least.

Watch the video he explains it.

Its designed especially for Iphone/iPad.

Danielr0y said,
I'm confused as to why Microsoft has targeted this specifically at the Mac platform. ...for now, at least.

Because they were preparing for the presentation at WWDC. I'm sure they're working on much broader HTML5 support for the future.

WinSynonymous said,
"the collaboration with apple was so fruitful"
tehehe

+1 That was the first thought I had when watching the video.

Does anyone know how instant search works? Does it really do a full search with every letter you type? Since I would say that'd be a huge impact on their resources. Or does it somehow only show the first 20 answers to your search query while adding letters? And if so, how does this work at a database level?

RuuddieBoy said,
Does anyone know how instant search works? Does it really do a full search with every letter you type? Since I would say that'd be a huge impact on their resources. Or does it somehow only show the first 20 answers to your search query while adding letters? And if so, how does this work at a database level?
Have you used it? It only searches the top suggestion.

RuuddieBoy said,
Does anyone know how instant search works? Does it really do a full search with every letter you type? Since I would say that'd be a huge impact on their resources. Or does it somehow only show the first 20 answers to your search query while adding letters? And if so, how does this work at a database level?

Yes they are "going to be serving many times more result pages for every query"- Kyle Scholz (http://youtu.be/ElubRNRIUg4?hd=1)

RuuddieBoy said,
Does anyone know how instant search works? Does it really do a full search with every letter you type? Since I would say that'd be a huge impact on their resources. Or does it somehow only show the first 20 answers to your search query while adding letters? And if so, how does this work at a database level?

Well, the ability to serve all those results is the real innovation, and that's what people are missing (unsurprisingly so, I suppose). Updating the page 'live' is trivial, but being able to serve all those page updates without crippling their systems is damn impressive.

Drunken Beard said,
^

A customer doesn't care about the technical difficulties you encountered when doing your job. It's a web service not a piece of art.

No doubt. But that doesn't mean that the otherwise-tech-aware portion of the population should be ignorant.

tomjol said,

No doubt. But that doesn't mean that the otherwise-tech-aware portion of the population should be ignorant.

I think you are confusing ignorance with apathy.

Panagiotis G. said,
i like bing more but in Greece the Google results are way better than bings

This is true, Bing is excellent in the US and good is some big countries like UK but it needs to improve for smaller places like Greece.

Beastage said,

This is true, Bing is excellent in the US and good is some big countries like UK but it needs to improve for smaller places like Greece.


That's the problem with MS, really. Stop focusing on specific region at launch and go international at launch/soon after launch!

Chun.Yin said,

That's the problem with MS, really. Stop focusing on specific region at launch and go international at launch/soon after launch!

One word: Zune.

Panagiotis G. said,
i like bing more but in Greece the Google results are way better than bings

Yep, US only stuff makes them unusable in other regions

tomjol said,

One word: Zune.

To be fair, MS aren't the only ones who are guilty of this. I've lost track of the number of Google products that are US-only and it took Apple a really long time to roll iTunes out internationally. PC manufacturers like HP are also really bad at offering all their options worldwide.

Beastage said,
Yea this was special and unique on the other hand I don't see what is so exciting about google's instant search.

me neither. The page changes while you type... and...

Brent1700 said,

lol you're serious? That's why it's so great?

Who said "great"? I can only find a person calling it "useful", and eliminating the need for a further step in getting your search results certainly is useful.

Brent1700 said,

how?

Well, putting it to real use, it's nice to be able to research something, and see the results you're getting instantly, allowing you to change certain keywords to better define what you're looking for. Also, it saves time from having to type as much out if I begin to see what I'm looking for before hand.

Nothing I'd call revolutionary, but very nice in itself I think.

dead.cell said,

Well, putting it to real use, it's nice to be able to research something, and see the results you're getting instantly, allowing you to change certain keywords to better define what you're looking for. Also, it saves time from having to type as much out if I begin to see what I'm looking for before hand.

Nothing I'd call revolutionary, but very nice in itself I think.


+1
To me, both isn't revolutionary. Both just make our life like a small small bit simpler than ever, I don't see anything revolutionary about it. It is just Apple loves to makes small things big.

Brent1700 said,

how?

I can see in real time how my results differ by adding/removing one or more characters. This may not appeal to you but it's certainly a *useful* feature for myself. From a users perspective surely this is win win situation? If you like the instant search then all is good, if you don't then you can either disable it or type your full search term like you previously did and hit enter, giving you the exact same result.

tanjiajun_34 said,

+1
To me, both isn't revolutionary. Both just make our life like a small small bit simpler than ever, I don't see anything revolutionary about it. It is just Apple loves to makes small things big.

Apple?

dead.cell said,

Well, putting it to real use, it's nice to be able to research something, and see the results you're getting instantly, allowing you to change certain keywords to better define what you're looking for. Also, it saves time from having to type as much out if I begin to see what I'm looking for before hand.

Nothing I'd call revolutionary, but very nice in itself I think.

+1

tanjiajun_34 said,

+1
To me, both isn't revolutionary. Both just make our life like a small small bit simpler than ever, I don't see anything revolutionary about it. It is just Apple loves to makes small things big.

Apple != Google, as far as I can remember. Plus wouldn't that statement be the other way around?

Brent1700 said,

how?

In situations where I may have tweaked my search terms 3 or 4 times, adding extra terms in each iteration to make the search more specific, I know do it in one step.

It's kind of like how most of us use the search in the Windows start menu. We start typing the name of an app/file we're looking for. If it's at the top of the list after 3 characters than we hit enter, if not we keep typing.

Same idea with this. I start typing "G9 review" and while watching the live results I realize there is a Canon camera called the G9. So rather than hit enter, realize my search wasn't specific enough then refine my search I simply add "logitech" to the search terms. Then I realize that there are two variants of the G9, the older optical and the newer laser. I obviously only want the results for the current laser iteration so I add "laser" to the search terms and save myself another search round trip.