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In case you somehow haven't <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/microsoft_news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=222000712">already heard</a>, Microsoft's Bing search engine disappeared from the Internet for about a half-hour on Thursday. Just like any national tragedy, everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news. I sure will, man, because I was <em>there</em>.

Dave Methvin

December 5, 2009

2 Min Read

In case you somehow haven't already heard, Microsoft's Bing search engine disappeared from the Internet for about a half-hour on Thursday. Just like any national tragedy, everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news. I sure will, man, because I was there.Like about 99 percent of the world, I use Google as my primary search engine. Sometimes, when it seems Google may be missing something, I head over to Bing. Thursday was one of those days. Instead of seeing the colorful-but-irrelevant image on the Bing home page, I was treated to this ironic page that said -- correctly it turns out -- it wasn't the page I wanted. I'm not sure when a message like that should ever appear on a web site, but it certainly seems like contrarian marketing to tell someone they don't want the home page at bing.com.

Following the instructions on the page, I reloaded (hey, 10 seconds is "later" in my impatient book) and got another strange message. I didn't get a shot of this one, but it said that Bing suspected I might be a bot making automated requests. Fortunately, the page said we could clear up all the confusion about bottish behavior if I simply entered the word in the CAPTCHA image on the page. Unfortunately, the image wasn't there! Since I couldn't prove that I wasn't a bot, it seemed like time to refresh again. This is where Bing flatlined. I got an ugly error page that persisted over several refreshes during the next few minutes. At that point, the paranoid part of me thought that perhaps Bing decided I was a bot and was sending out error messages as a ruse. (That kind of paranoid thinking just goes to prove I'm not a bot, I suppose.) So, it was time to go back to Google. Bing was only down for about half an hour, so maybe we're all making too much of this. Yet the only reason it's not such a big deal is that not many people use Bing. Imagine if Google's home page was dead for that long. You can bet nearly everyone would have noticed that.

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