“To Bing, Or Not To Bing?” Will Microsoft’s Search Engine Ever Become A Verb?

“To Bing, Or Not To Bing?” Will Microsoft’s Search Engine Ever Become A Verb?

The word ‘Google’ has been widely embraced by the English speaking world as a de facto verb for internet searches. When you want to find something out online, you don’t search for it; you “google” it. But what about Microsoft’s rival search engine Bing? Over the past few days, I’ve been asking friends, family and co-workers to ‘Bing’ search queries for me. Here’s a transcription of some of their reactions…

The following conversations took place at home, at work and over the phone between the 20th of April and the 2nd of May:

Jillian (AKA the wife)

Me: Are you online at the moment?

Jillian: Yeah, do you need the computer? I’m just finishing this research [for my] uni assignment.

Me: Can you Bing the capital of Romania for me?

Jillian: …Can I what?

Me: I said can you Bing the capital of Romania for me?

Jillian: What is bing?


James (AKA the friend)

Me: …also, did you want to see Iron Man 3 this week?

James: Maybe, what day were you thinking?

Me: Not sure. Did you want to Bing the session times for us?

James: …Did you just say “Bing the session times”?

Me: Yeah. Y’know, like, find ’em out online.

James: Yeah I get it, but why say Bing? That’s retarded.


Danny (AKA the boss)

Danny: Hey Chris, do you have a contact number for [redacted]?”

Me: No. Would you like me to Bing it for you?

Danny: [Slight facial spasm] Um, no, that’s okay.


Serge (AKA the dad)

Serge: [reading from a newspaper knowledge test] What colour is Queensland’s floral emblem?

Me: I think it’s red. Did you want me to Bing it on my phone?

Serge: What’s a bing?


And there you have it. According to this small-scale and rather silly experiment, Bing has a long way to go before it enters the English vernacular. Was Bing too late to the party? Does it not possess a large enough user-base? Or is it simply lacking the required pizzazz to pull off the noun-to-verb transformation? Perhaps somebody should Wolfram Alpha this conundrum to see if there are any answers…


  • Hmm, to be fair I heard of Bing many times and most times it was in a negative light. So I already built a negative image of Bing. Like a sewer you don’t want to visit by choice. However since I am inquisitive by nature I test driven them side by side, google and bing I mean. Seems bing gave me the results of what I was searching for just as quickly and comparable links if not same.

    If you had a text based search interface with no logos or anything to ID them, could you tell the difference ?

    • Went to a Microsoft seminar in Uni and the speaker had made this website. http://blindsearch.fejus.com/

      It does as it says, gives you the results for Google, Bing and Yahoo (which seems to no longer be functioning on the site). Tried a search just now for Artemis Bridge Simulator (Just got a craving for it). And my preferred search results turned out to be Bing, o go figure.

    • The key factor that killed bing right from the start was that they tried to enforce it as the default search engine. In internet explorer when you type ‘google’ in the URL bar, it does a bing search for google. Instantly flags itself as annoying…

  • As long as there’s one easy word in use, there’s very little chance of another word gaining any real popularity of its own. It’s why ‘to xerox’ still refers to photocopying, Kleenex refers to any kind of tissue, Coke refers to any soft drink in some parts of America, all easy adhesive dressings are Bandaids, and searching online is ‘googling’.

    Aside from that, you can’t force a meme. Nobody ever says ‘goes like a Zirtec’ (if anything, I swore I’d never buy anything from that goddamn company after those annoying as hell ads), and marketing attempts to make Bing into a verb have met with equal disdain.

    • For the golden oldies xerox well yeah but unless you watching commercial tv you don’t get that branding in your head. I haven’t watched commercial tv for last 8 or so years. I can’t believe its been that long.

  • Microsoft have been doing paid mentions in TV scripts, it happened a couple of times in “Veep”.

    • Hawaii Five-0, the kings of hilariously obvious product placement, used it as a verb in this context.

      I had to rewind it and made sure I heard correctly, and then spent five minutes laughing and texting everyone I know about how silly it was.

      • So true – I did a double take the first time I heard it as well. Not just hilariously obvious product placement, hilariously awkward as well.

  • I don’t think “Bing” will make it as a verb meaning “Internet Search” – but that’s OK. Google needs competition and over time I’ve found Bing’s results are getting better, so for regular web searches I use it on principle.

    Google still kicks arse for image search, translation and maps (although Bing’s maps are getting much better).

  • “I’ll write a GUI to Bing his IP address in real time”.

    Seems legit.

  • Although i like Bing, i don’t think it sounds as good so i think adoption will be slow. It’s not my default search engine but that’s mostly out of habit of using Google. Quite often i search for something on Google Maps and it is just wrong and i end of searching for it on Bing Maps anyway. I will switch one of these days…

  • I’ve always wondered, but if the present tense is to Bing it, then what is the past tense? Is it Binged or Bung?

  • I don’t Bing things, things Bing me.
    My phone goes bing, my microwave goes bing, the announcement that my train is delayed is prefixed by an official sounding bing. Even Microsoft’s own OS bings at me when I click outside a modal dialog box. Bing was something in my mind LONG before it was ever a search engine. This is a case of marketing playing catch-up and being left in the dust. The worst thing is bings are often associated with Dismiss buttons, as is the case for Outlook reminders. It was destined for failure.

  • Bing: To create an almost identical product to your competitor ten years too late.

    • See also

      Zune: To create an almost identical product to your competitor ten years too late.
      Windows Phone: To create an almost identical product to your competitor ten years too late.

      • Umm…Windows Phone ten years behind the competitor? Exactly WHAT competitor – the iPhone? I’d say you have that backwards, since Windows was on phones back in about 2000 – when the only other competitor was Rim’s Blackberry. Followed shortly by the Treo series (in 2000 it wasn’t yet a phone – that came in ’03). The iPhone was the Johnny-Come-lately – some FIVE YEARS after the Treo release, and TWO years after Treo released with Windows on it!

        While Zune was a little late to the game, it’s not like the most popular player (iPod) was Mr. Early Bird – being v1 was in 2001, some FOUR years after Creative released their Jukebox, and the iPod was Mac-only (so not exactly mainstream) until 2004…by then the Treo could already do everything the iPod could, plus make phone calls and send text messages/email, browse the internet, GPS, play movies, etc, etc.

      • JOeS sums up the Windows Phone argument well enough. They were basically the pioneers of smartphone operating systems, and if you think the modern incarnation is ‘an almost identical product’ to competitors then you’ve clearly never used it.

        Zune was both a great device and a great service, a lot better than the iPod/iTunes ecosystem. I still use a Zune HD as my main media player today. The biggest problem with Zune was it came out at a time when a lot of people still thought it was trendy to hate on Microsoft, ignoring the fact their hardware divisions generally put out top quality stuff.

  • I’ve only started using Bing since I got my Lumia and have found the results to be fine, what I have found really lacking though is real innovation at this point. Like, the Bing bar – ideally id have it searching my skydrive, local files, etc etc.. I mean, the search key is a core part of the OS. Ideally, i’d be able to hit it and find anything I was looking for in the one place.. But it’s simply not there. All I can do is search the web.

    They are adding more search er.. lenses.. (thats what they’re called for the camera, unsure for search) which will probably enable all that kind of thing in the future, and is open to third party devs.. But still, as other posters have said, they’re late to the game and can’t bring anything new besides a HD picture background?

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