theEweekly Wrap 29 May 2009
Microsoft announces new search engine
Microsoft revealed its newest weapon in the ‘search race’ this week, previewing their new search engine, Bing. The search website is described as a ‘decision engine’ and the company claim Bing will help more users find and – crucially – use more information on the internet. Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, explained that the search engine would help browsers manage the data they gather online more efficiently.
“Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find. Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they’ve found.”
Bing is the latest instalment of Microsoft’s search engine. It has gone through a number of title changes in the past five years, having previously been called ‘Search’, ‘Windows Live Search’ and, most-recently, ‘Live Search’.
Latest figures from market research group ComScore show that Microsoft holds just 3 per cent of the US search market, with Google maintaining a 64 per cent share. While Microsoft is hoping Bing will increase its cut of the market, many industry commentators have expressed doubt as to the ability of the site to tempt users away from Google.
Illegal download numbers revealed
Seven million Britons regularly download illegal content, according to a group of government advisors. The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP) discovered that, over the course of just one day, 1.3 million users downloaded content from a single file-sharing network.
The government group estimates over £12 billion worth of illegal material – such as music albums and feature films – is downloaded in the UK every year. In April, an unfinished copy of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film was leaked onto file-sharing sites across the globe. The Hugh Jackman film was downloaded an estimated 100,000 times in a little over three days.
But probably not by these people
A survey by the BBC has revealed that three million homes in the United Kingdom have broadband speeds below two megabits per second. The report calculated the quality of broadband across the country by examining how far away properties were from telephone exchanges. Alex Slater, head of the group who conducted the research, said:
“In some cases people aren’t able to shop online, aren’t able to view certain websites or use social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter and they can’t watch the BBC’s iPlayer”
The government has pledged to provide all properties in the UK with broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012.