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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Why Bing Isn't a Failure (& the Future of the Internet)

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Heres something youve never, ever heard before:

Hey, good question, you should Bing it

Okay, maybe once.

But, except maybe as a punchline, nobody uses Bing.

Microsoft has tried, and tried, and tried again,

They redesigned the website, spent millions advertising a pun making Google

look better, even paid people to use it.

And yet, a decade later, Bing is still Bing.

So, at this point, why not just abandon the project?

Well, because Bing isnt actually a failure.

Far from it.

Its a story of data, and control, and, ultimately, the future of the internet.

In 2012, CEO Steve Ballmer announced Bing was finally a real contender.

He saidBy revealing our most popular searches, were showing Bing is ready to compete with

the big boys.”

So what were they?

google, goggle, googlle, suicide, googler, and hot sauce.


I mean, when it comes to spicy food, the crown clearly goes to Bing.

Take, that, Google?

But, to be fair, we shouldve known Ballmer was no prophet.

After releasing the Windows Phone, you know, that best-selling, world-changing sensation,

he was so confident it would be successful he held a funeral for the iPhone - literally,

iPhones carried like caskets.


So when I saw this chart of search engine market share,

I wiped my nonexistent glasses, reloaded the page,

cleared the cache, restarted my computer,

threw it away, then bought a new one.

But, somehow, its true: A third of U.S. internet searches use Bing,

26% in the UK, 17% in Canada.

And like Google, they sell ads to the highest bidder.

Multiply by over a billion users a month, and Bing makes $5 billion a year.

as in one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,

nine zeros.

Hundred dollar bills stacked higher than the Burj Khalifa.

Times five.

To put that in perspective, thats what YouTube, made, with basically no competitors,

in 2016.

The difference is Bing actually makes a profit.

Companies like Twitter and Snapchat lose money for years, hoping money will come later.

And yet, heres Bing, actually in the black.

Hats off to you, Ballmer.

Oh wait

But seriously, how can this be? and what does it mean?

Microsoft has had plenty of ups and downs, but one thing has always been consistent.

82% of the worlds computers run Windows, and that hasnt really changed.

Besides making a ton of money, this gives them an incredibly powerful tool theyd

be dumb not to use.

In the same way a change to the iPhone is a change to the entire industry, clear throat

Even the smallest adjustment to Windows has a huge effect among hundreds of millions of


And thats especially true for one simple reason:

People just dont change their settings.

Microsoft lets you switch browsers and search engines, but ignorance and apathy are on their


People dont know how, or dont care enough to change them, making the defaults incredibly


Internet Explorer may not beuniversally loved,

but it came with Windows, so it doesnt matter.

Same with Edge, their new browser, which looks a little familiar

And theyll do anything to get more users.

Microsoft and Apple may not be the best of friends,

but the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Nearly all of Googles revenue comes from search ads, most of which are mobile,

and even though only 12% are iOS devices, they make up 75% of that mobile revenue.

Of course theyd prefer you generate that money on Android, but in the meantime,

its possible iOS users are worth more to Google.

They really benefit from and depend on Apple.

But the feeling isnt mutual.

Apple would like to keep a distance.

To escape Google Maps, they built Apple Maps.

Which, wasnt so good at keeping a distance

And thats where Microsoft comes in.

In 2013, Siri waved goodbye to Google and hello to Bing.

But money can heal all wounds

Google now sends Apple a 3 billion dollar check every year, and Apple says Fine,

you can be our default search engine

Thats maybe the worlds most expensive flip of a switch.

The success of Bing isnt really about Bing, its about control.

If people had to go out of their way to find it, nobody would.

The difference between a 5 billion dollar business and a completely bankrupt one is

the power to decide what users see.

The decisions of tech companies will often seem strange and reckless, like why pour so

much money into the Windows and Fire Phones? until you understand the larger goal: moving

up the hierarchy of control.

The strategy of entire companies, entire industries,

is to climb this triangle.

The lower something is, the more companies it relies on, and the greater its risk of

being shut down.

At the very bottom are plugins, extensions, mods, and hacks.

They fundamentally depend on the obliviousness or indifference of a larger company,

who they often mean very little to.

And when their goals differ, the larger company always wins.

The Hackintosh community, for example, trick macOS into running on their custom-built computers.

Its clever, but if Apple woke up on the wrong side of the bed, they could end it faster

than you can say How do you like them apples?


Slightly higher are websites, who can send you any code they want, but are at the mercy

of your browser to show it.

And browsers, like all apps, are beholden to the operating system, who may just say

Nah, I dont think so

The company Astro makes an app to turn your iPad into an extra computer monitor, and they

wanted to add a button without covering the screen, so they had a cool idea: Theyd

use the camera.

Youpress”, it detects less light, and activates the button.

A thumbs up from me, but a thumbs down from Apple, who rejected it from the store.

Or, they may really like your app, incorporate it into the OS,

and kill your business.

When Macs had a feature called Sherlock, Someone made a companion called Watson, a

$30 app with some extra features.

But it was so good that it came with the next version of macOS.

And above all of these is the holy grail of tech companies: physical devices.

When you own the hardware, you own everything.

Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world not because hes good at making profit,

and certainly not because hes good at labeling charts, but because he understands the power

of getting Amazon in front of you, whatever the cost.

He wouldve happily lost money on the Fire Phone just to get in more peoples hands.

Kindle, Fire Tablets, Echo - they all make little or no profit, but theyre incredibly


Its the same reason Windows Phone refused to quit for so long.

And you can bet companies like Facebook hate being in the hands of phone companies.

Please dont do it, Mark.

Theyre gonna it

Speaking of Facebook, the other reason control is so important is data.

More data means more and better ads, and ads mean profit.

Companies can buy it from places like, who you can sell your private information

to for a few bucks,

Or, companies can just get it themselves.

And the higher on the triangle, the more they can collect.

Its a terrible incentive that could forever change the internet

In 2013, Facebook suddenly felt exceptionally generous

Hey, we should give everyone in the world access to the internet

So heres what were going to do: you get an internet,

you get an internet, everyone gets an internet

I know who Im voting for in 2020

But its Facebook, so wheres the Black Mirror twist?

When users were surveyed, something strange happened: more people said they used Facebook

than used the Internet.

65% of Nigerians and 61% of Indonesians they asked agreed thatFacebook is the internet

And thats no accident

Make no mistake: what Facebook is so generously donating is not the internet, but Facebooks


They only give access to their website and handful of others which meet their requirements.

No net neutrality.

In other words, a clever way to get more users.

Google is also getting into the philanthropy business with what they call AMP.

The technology is boring, so heres a summary:

What you see on a website is a fraction of whats actually there.

the rest is, well, garbage.

Garbage that tracks you for advertising, makes the site look fancy, whatever.

So Google saysAll that garbage is really slowing things down, why dont we host your

website for you, well strip away the garbage and itll load faster.”

It sounds great, but, what do ya know, it only works if you add to your website the

same garbage its supposed to remove.

Because it isnt about speed so much as control.

Websites dont need Google to remove their garbage,

if they want to load faster, they can just do it themselves.

Google wants you to hand them control of what users see.

Sure, itsoptional”, but if you say no, they rank you lower in search results,

so not really.

Google and Facebook already have incredible control over the internet, but theyd like

all of it.

Their dream isnt to dominate the internet but to be the internet.

And thats bad for everyone.

The beauty of the internet is that power isnt in the hands of any one company.

Anyone can do or learn anything without the permission of a Google or a Facebook.

Thats the power of a website like, you take control of your learning on topics

like computer science, math, and physics.

Behind all the technology in this video are some really fascinating concepts like machine

learning, neural networks, and computational logic.

All of which may sound intimidating, but are actually pretty fun and rewarding to learn

with Brilliant.

In too many of my classes, and probably yours too, were taught the steps to do a problem,

but not really why, or how.

Thats because were only memorizing one specific problem, not actually understanding

the process.

The latter is whats actually fun and useful in the real world.

And thats what you get with Brilliant - you practice the skills and see examples along

the way.

Here were learning about how computers store information,

Theres an explanation, a visual, and a chance to check our understanding.

All very approachable.

If we answer incorrectly, it shows us exactly how to get the solution.

It really is a fantastic way to learn, especially if youre currently a student or just like

learning new things.

You can support PolyMatter and learn more at brilliant dot org slash PolyMatter and

sign up for free.

The first 200 people to use that link, which is in the description, will also get 20% off

the annual Premium subscription.

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