Following Google's lead, Bing Smart Search starts testing giant ads in results

Less than a week after we reported that Google is testing out large banner ads on certain search result pages, Microsoft has announced that it is experimenting with a very similar concept in Windows 8.1's Bing Smart Search.

Luckily, these aren't your ordinary, annoying banner ads that largely get in the way of content and colorfully congratulate you on miraculously winning $36 trillion. Instead, it seems both Google and Bing are trying to blur the lines between ads and content, thus integrating the ads directly within the results.

For instance, if you search in Bing Smart Search for something specific like a Land Rover vehicle, you'll get a giant sponsored result from Land Rover with a large image and relevant links to explore a car or get a quote. This is demonstrated in the screenshot above. It's not a terrible idea because a good chunk of people searching for specific brands are likely interested in content being provided directly by those brands, whether sponsored or not. However, Microsoft should be careful not to place these ads on too many results pages for non-specific queries.

One difference between Google's banner ads and what Microsoft is calling Bing's "Hero ads" is that the Hero ads won't show up on bing.com — only in Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1. If you use the main Bing website often, you won't come by the ads, unlike if you were to use Google's website. On the flip side, some people don't like the idea of having to pay for a copy of Windows and then still seeing ads baked into the OS.

Source: The Verge | Image via Microsoft

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1. monetize everything
2. alienate everyone
3. ??????????
4. profit

Sorry, I cannot think of a step 3 that makes this work. Everyone's selling air again on the internet. Another bubble's gonna go "pop."

For christ sake people. You're all moaning that if you search for a product or company, you get a well designed page of content based around that. I mean how silly of both google and MS to think that's what you're after. Put your small brains away and realise this is exactly what you were looking for in the first place!

and it is not like they would provide "ads" already based on "special search results" all along. Buying tickets etc - they didn't at this for free.. they get paid for that as well

As I said in the post about the google ad, if I search for land rover and they give me an "ad" with links to info about land rover, that's not exactly a bad thing. People just cry wolf because its labeled as an ad.

recursive said,

At least with Linux you still have the choice of:
a. turning that off in Ubuntu
b. Choosing from numerous other better distros such as Linux Mint

Yea, you can turn off Bing search in 8.1, click and done. Still, to be honest, the user *did* ask for a search about that particular product specifically, the OS is returning relevant information versus throwing ads at you for *every* search even if it's just for an installed program like the example shown above. Having to switch OS's is just a poor option if that's what the user wants regardless of who made it.. in that case why not just switch to Windows 7 then eh?

Raa said,
Suddenly the "other camp" is quiet...

Or the other comments there after. Personally I do not see the big deal from Google or Microsoft. If I am searching for say said car and they give me a nice ad and provide me more information about the vehicle then it is more than welcome. People expect the internet to be free which is mind boggling.

I expect it to be somewhat free, but if i'm searching for a new car, and ads show up about cars, i'm reasonably okay with this.

Lord Method Man said,
Pathetic. Microsoft had the opportunity to take the high road here, but they blew it.

How dare they help you learn more about Land Rovers and schedule a test drive when you search for Land Rover.

Lord Method Man said,
Pathetic. Microsoft had the opportunity to take the high road here, but they blew it.

Their a business. Their high road is the same as Google's. Money. Everything else is irrelevant.
Their not in business to make you happy, their in business to take your money.

Hence why the Google vs Microsoft game and whose a nicer company and discussing 'haters' is silly. Neither company cares for an instant about you outside of how much money you can give them.

Just use the products that work for you, don't get emotionally invested in the company because their not making the products to make you happy. Their only concern is how their products can leach your money quicker.

rfirth said,

How dare they help you learn more about Land Rovers and schedule a test drive when you search for Land Rover.


What if I'm searching for an independent source for Land Rover problems and don't want a test drive?

jakem1 said,

What if I'm searching for an independent source for Land Rover problems and don't want a test drive?

Then you search for "Land Rover problems", not "Land Rover".

Or you go to the search results for "Land Rover". The 'ad' isn't the only search result.

So if you want information for a 'Land Rover' it displays detailed content about a Land Rover.

How nefarious...

This is NOT the same as Google's ads.

This is content detail. If you search for a Movie, it will give you an Image for the movie, links to buy tickets (based on Apps installed) or the option to view/play the movie in Xbox Video.

It is not giving you an irrelevant image about ANOTHER movie, or ads for popcorn.

yekGLzhQ4Qju1FtAVcC4 said,
You're confused. Google's banners were also content specific. In their tests for example, a query for Southwest Airlines showed a banner for Southwest Airlines.

True, but there is a bit of a difference between a banner and interactive content from more than one source.

The Google content isn't just restricted to what was searched. So if you were looking for Corvette, with Google you could get a banner ad from Porsche and not an interactive Ad with more information from Chevrolet on the Corvette.

Microsoft is clever here, as they taking 'content' they would have provided and the users would want and being able to create a symbiotic advertising relationship.

Mobius Enigma said,

Microsoft is clever here, as they taking 'content' they would have provided and the users would want and being able to create a symbiotic advertising relationship.

So...it's like what Google is testing...

That's how these things start. Eventually the rules will be releaxed after everyone has become used to seeing them, and before you know it there will be one on every page regardless of what you search for

fobban said,
In the image someone searched for "tset22orehsda" and got a huge Land Rover ad. Is that "content detail"?

It's probably a test code, likely used to test the feature. Doesn't work in Win8.1 right now, though.

This isn't about love or hate. This is about having an expectation for a company to be better, and them failing to meet those standards.

This is why I find the camp flags so silly. If you have your head so far up a company's behind, how the heck do you expect the company to improve at all if people cannot be critical of them without being labeled a fanboy or anti-[company]. It's silly.