Happy Birthday, Bing

Five years ago, on June 3rd, 2009, Microsoft’s search product, which had been known by various names up until then: MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search, to be more specific, became Bing. That Microsoft was planning to introduce a new brand for search wasn’t a secret, but for months, the name certainly was. Speculation was rampant that the new name was going to be either Bing, or Kumo, which turned out to be a placeholder code name used internally while the branding message was fine tuned. At the time, we spotted a tweet showing Kumo in action:

Yesterday, The Bing Search Blog posted on their upcoming anniversary, with a screenshot of Bing’s day one home page image, and taking a page from our old friend Long Zheng, have put together a Bing Homepage Gallery to showcase some memorable home page images from over those five years.

LiveSide readers might remember that those home page images predated Bing, and after Live Search was updated with a new lighter look and feel, code named “Rome”. was released, with a solid gray home page, we finally caught our first glimpse at what would become Bing’s famous daily home page image feature, when Microsoft started testing it in the wild:

That was way back in July 2008, a year before the Bing name change. But there has been much more to Bing in these past five years than home page images. Had Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo! gone through, Bing might have become a far different product, and it still owes much of its “success” to a Microsoft-Yahoo! Search Alliance, a ten year deal to power Yahoo’s search with Bing. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has been reportedly trying to wiggle her way out of the deal, but in the meantime, although Bing-Yahoo! hasn’t generated the kind of revenues either side envisioned, it still instantly beefed up Bing’s share numbers.

More recently, Bing has become much more than just a standalone search product, and has been integrated into Windows Phone, Windows 8, and has taken on a new persona with “Cortana”. New CEO Satya Nadella ran Microsoft’s Online Services for a time, and was actually instrumental in pushing Live Search to make many of the changes that we have come to know in Bing. It would be very surprising if Nadella were to do anything but continue the push to make Bing an integral part of almost everything Microsoft does. Where do you think Bing will be in five years from now?