What does Bing mean?

Bing Crosby, singer and actor

Bing Crosby, singer and actor

What does ‘Bing’ even mean?

Because it’s not Google?  A tribute to Bing Crosby?  Someone at Microsoft has a penchant for cherries?

It’s none of those.  Microsoft’s search engine product started humbly in in 1998 as MSN Search, and it combined a search engine, index, and web crawler to retrieve results.   Up until its re-launch in early 2005, MSN Search had been using results from earlier search engines, such as Inktomi and AltaVista.  After 2005, MSN Search was its own stand-alone search engine, with an index that was updated weekly or even daily.[1]

The Microsoft search engine product went through a few changes after MSN Search.  It has been called Live Search and Windows Live Search; comparatively, Google has always been Google.  So what’s in a name?  Microsoft worked with the brand consultants Interbrand to come up with the name, which is meant to reflect the “A ha!” moment when you find your desired results.[2]  I suppose the name A-Ha was taken:


Among the other options for a name were Sift and Kumo, which sound pretty odd to me.  I think in terms of website names, Bing is a decent one: it’s short, it’s spelled the way it sounds, and it conveys the product’s idea in an abstract sort of way.  It’s certainly better than the infamous Therapist Finder tool, with the dubious domain of http://therapistfinder.com!


Seymour, T., Frantsvog, D., & Kumar, S. (2011). History Of Search Engines. International Journal Of Management & Information Systems, 15(4), 47-58.


Wasserman, T. (2009). Why Microsoft Chose the Name ‘Bing’. Brandweek, 50(22), 33.


Categories: About Bing

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