What is Bing Good For?

14 years ago, when I still lived in Allen, Texas and was a 4th grade student at James D. Kerr Elementary School, I learned about search engines.

Up to this point in my life, I had never considered that there were different ways of accessing data on the internet. For me, like most 10-year-old boys, the computer was a game console—it was where I routinely sat and played Street Fighter. And where I started learning languages thanks to “Grandma and Me.” When we sat down, I had a sneaking suspicion that we weren’t playing Street Fighter.

During home period that fateful day in January 2000, we were carted into the computer lab to learn about search engines. We were sat down, and told to turn on our computers. A couple minutes later, the room became an orchestra of sound. The unmistakable DIIIIIIINNNNNG from the Windows 98 operating programs sounded in unison. Before long, we were all fired up and ready to go.

The teacher in charge of the computer lab walked over to a large whiteboard and began writing out names odd-sounding names. Google, AskJeeves, Yahoo, MSN, Excite, Lycos. We were told to double-click on the Internet Explorer icon, and go to any of the search engines, and “just play around.”

That day I decided to “play around” with Ask Jeeves. The name sounded the coolest—although Lycos sounded pretty cool, too— and I carefully typed out the URL and was met with a friendly-faced butler. I didn’t know what to do. How was I supposed to play around with this? It was just an empty box with a cartoon butler. I tried typing out my name in the empty box, which I later learned was the search engine—which turned up nothing—and then I gave up; I spent the rest of class playing wth the clip art on PowerPoint.
I decided that day that I hated Ask Jeeves. It took my web-searching virginity and I didn’t like it.

Most of my classmates opted to use Google that day—which was listed first on the whiteboard, if I remember correctly. It seems their laziness paid off. To my knowledge, they all still use Google to this day—which, since 2000, has become quite popular.

Exactly 5 years ago today, Steve Ballmer unveiled Bing at the at the “All Things Digital” conference in San Diego, California. It entered our lives on June 1st, 2009.

Since then, we have all experienced Bing in one way or another.
Whether it’s through careful product placement in your favorite TV shows, commercials insisting that you learn more about “points,” or sneaky maneuvers to make the Bing Search Engine the default—Microsoft has forced the entire World to acknowledge Bing’s existence.

1-uZ6tHC4HIvbRPLmUOR0kVQ So now, after five years of innovation and business, I ask the ultimate question of Microsoft, the Internet, and the world:

What the hell is Bing good for?

It’s the elephant in the room, and I finally am asking the question. Here is what I have found:

1. Acronym Puns

Because It’s Not Google. Which can also be used as: Bitch, It’s Not Google

Oh, Jesse...
Oh, Jesse…

2. Porn!

“Oh my God, Juan’s talking about porn. Ermagerd! How scandalous!”

Grow up.

Porn is part of the Internet. It is has a lot of web traffic. People watch fucking porn. Pun intended.

According to Ogi Ogas, one of the neuroscientists behind A Billion Wicked Thoughtsconsidered the most comprehensive collection of porn-use stats on the web,“pornography and erotic websites make up 4% of websites on the Internet and 13% of web searches.” This number feels low to me, but let’s roll with it for now.

It is within that 13% of web searches that Bing might have found a new home.

In 2012 Google introduced new filters that removed a lot of pornography from search results. Even if you have safe search turned off, you can’t find them—Google has forbidden it. Bing has done no such thing. Because of this, Bing offers a wider selection of Porn.

You're welcome.
You’re welcome.

3. Petty Revenge

One of my best friends has a dickhead older brother. One day my friend decided to seek a cruel and unusual form of revenge.

One day his brother pushed him too far. After the older brother left for work, my friend went into his room and opened up his laptop. There was no password, so hacking into the computer was no problem.

My friend knows his brother quite well—he knows that he is a Chrome user, and my friend knows that his brother always searches by typing into the Omnibox tool. Knowing his brother is computer illiterate, he exacted a revenge so sweet and merciless that I am grinning like a devil telling it to you now: he went into the chrome settings and changed the Omnibox from Google to Bing as the default search engine.

His brother has no clue how to change it back. He thinks it’s a virus.

4. The Travel Feature

I have a buddy from college who once told me he was switching to Bing permanently. “Because of its travel features, man.”

I was doubtful.

“No way, man, check it out,” he said, as he pulled out his Microsoft smartphone and Microsoft tablet. He proceeded to explain how, using Bing, you could search for flight numbers, get info about “timeliness,”—whatever that is—plus “some other useful information.” He concluded by clapping me on the back and saying, “And dude. How sick is it to see those videos and picture previews? Am I right?” He winked at me. I felt uncomfortable.
He starts his job at Microsoft next week. I suppose this makes him a biased source.

5. Points or something?

Eh, I don’t really care. Just use Google like everyone else. Fuck it.

There you have it. Congratulations, Bing! You are the Pabst Blue Ribbon of search engines. The only people who like you either work for you, or have awful taste. Now please stop interrupting my TV shows!

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