Bing tests (then stops) search results in a new tab: are you ok with being a guinea pig?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted May 9, 2012 28 comments

This morning a number of tech blogs are reporting on what apparently is another test of Bing users, this time with search results opening in a new tab:

bing new tab

Along with lots of other people around the world, We’re seeing it here (on Windows 7 and IE9), and according to Mary Jo Foley, a number of those unsuspecting beta testers aren’t too happy, wondering on Twitter if the behavior is a bug, or calling it “extremely frustrating”.

In fact, so many people are upset about the behavior that Bing is disabling the test, according to Foley, who just updated her post:

Update: The negative feedback seems to have resonated with the Bing team. A spokeswoman just sent this statement (around 2:15 p.m. ET on May 9): "We heard the feedback, and we’re disabling the feature now."

(as of now, we’re still seeing the new tabs open, but it may take a bit to propagate the changes)

The question still remains, however: is it ok for Bing, or any software service, to test beta features on you without either permission or notification?   Should you have to take to Twitter to find out what’s going on with a service you use regularly, especially one who’s trying hard to gain the trust of users?  Bing has been using this method of A/B testing for quite some time, and here, at least, it’s frustrating because we never seem to know whether a new feature has rolled out, or if it’s just in testing, never to be seen again.

What do you think of search results opening in a new tab, and more generally, are you ok with being used as a guinea pig?

Posted May 9th, 2012 at 11:49 am
Category: Bing
Tags: Bing
  • FremyCompany

    No problem, if they listen to feedback. AON, they do. So, it’s ok for me.

  • FremyCompany

    No problem, if they listen to feedback. AON, they do. So, it’s ok for me.

  • byronm

    of course its ok to test like this. getting user samples on real live data is the best data you can collect. I’d rather see smaller continuall updates than huge glaring changes that never make it to light of day in reasonable times.
    I’m glad the new page test stopped though, i thought my browser was acting up when urls opened in new tabs

  • hypernovae

    of course its ok to test like this. getting user samples on real live data is the best data you can collect. I’d rather see smaller continuall updates than huge glaring changes that never make it to light of day in reasonable times.
    I’m glad the new page test stopped though, i thought my browser was acting up when urls opened in new tabs

  • jagster

    When I first noticed this I though I was just leaving open tabs all over the place (multitasking and having dozens of tabs and windows open can sometimes lead me to leaving unneeded tabs open). But later I noticed the ‘open in new tab’ behavior and I then thought it was my browser acting up.

  • jagster

    When I first noticed this I though I was just leaving open tabs all over the place (multitasking and having dozens of tabs and windows open can sometimes lead me to leaving unneeded tabs open). But later I noticed the ‘open in new tab’ behavior and I then thought it was my browser acting up.

  • Asrialys

    It’s not that big of a deal to me. What I don’t like is Hotmail opening to a new tab or window. I stopped using the link of the MSN home page because it opened Hotmail in a new window. And then the link on the Bing page started opening Hotmail on a new tab :/

    • Mario Albertico

      I thought I was the only one annoyed by that MSN Hotmail link…nice to see I’m not alone.

  • Asrialys

    It’s not that big of a deal to me. What I don’t like is Hotmail opening to a new tab or window. I stopped using the link of the MSN home page because it opened Hotmail in a new window. And then the link on the Bing page started opening Hotmail on a new tab :/

    • Mario Albertico

      I thought I was the only one annoyed by that MSN Hotmail link…nice to see I’m not alone.

  • Mario Albertico

    I don’t mind testing out new features for the sake of improving the product, but what I did absolutely hate was this particular tab “feature”–I tweeted to the Bing team quite some time ago about it, but because I didn’t get a response, I thought I was just experiencing a really random issue. So it really pleases me to finally find out that it was actually an intended effect and it’s been resolved.

    PS: I just checked my Twitter history and it was exactly a month ago when this first started happening to me, since then it would occur intermittently.

  • Mario Albertico

    I don’t mind testing out new features for the sake of improving the product, but what I did absolutely hate was this particular tab “feature”–I tweeted to the Bing team quite some time ago about it, but because I didn’t get a response, I thought I was just experiencing a really random issue. So it really pleases me to finally find out that it was actually an intended effect and it’s been resolved.

    PS: I just checked my Twitter history and it was exactly a month ago when this first started happening to me, since then it would occur intermittently.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    mine doesn’t open a new tab with the search results, mine is OK :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    mine doesn’t open a new tab with the search results, mine is OK :)

  • ArielEditor

    This was annoying. I checked the Bing settings to see if it was something I could disable.

  • ArielEditor

    This was annoying. I checked the Bing settings to see if it was something I could disable.

  • Nicks

    Bing seems to have changed it’s search suggestions from the IE9 search box. I use to be able to get definitions for words in IE9′s search box….. as well as conversions & weather (even though the weather was in °F).
    Has anyone else noticed this?
    It was my favorite IE9 + Bing feature. Hope they bring it back.

    • Mario Albertico

      Interesting, I just checked to see and I’m not getting the usual weather and definitions in IE9 suggestions either. It wasn’t something I ever depended on because I would just hit Enter and see the results anyway, but it was a nice indication that the results page would contain what I was looking for.

  • Nicks

    Bing seems to have changed it’s search suggestions from the IE9 search box. I use to be able to get definitions for words in IE9′s search box….. as well as conversions & weather (even though the weather was in °F).
    Has anyone else noticed this?
    It was my favorite IE9 + Bing feature. Hope they bring it back.

    • Mario Albertico

      Interesting, I just checked to see and I’m not getting the usual weather and definitions in IE9 suggestions either. It wasn’t something I ever depended on because I would just hit Enter and see the results anyway, but it was a nice indication that the results page would contain what I was looking for.

  • Don

    This was happening to me, it was annoying. I thought I could change it in settings, but the setting to enable this was unchecked so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I’m glad they turned it off.

  • Don

    This was happening to me, it was annoying. I thought I could change it in settings, but the setting to enable this was unchecked so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I’m glad they turned it off.

  • Edward Carney

    They’re free to test however they like, but it seems like common sense for any company that changes its services or policies, even temporarily, to make some effort to inform its customers or users. Since this test hadn’t been announced in any way, couldn’t be turned off, and didn’t serve any discernible purpose, I had no way of knowing it wasn’t a bug. I want to stick with Bing, but I’m specifically drawn to them as an alternative to the dehumanizing nature of Google. So I expect them to make a solid effort to connect with their users.

  • Edward Carney

    They’re free to test however they like, but it seems like common sense for any company that changes its services or policies, even temporarily, to make some effort to inform its customers or users. Since this test hadn’t been announced in any way, couldn’t be turned off, and didn’t serve any discernible purpose, I had no way of knowing it wasn’t a bug. I want to stick with Bing, but I’m specifically drawn to them as an alternative to the dehumanizing nature of Google. So I expect them to make a solid effort to connect with their users.

  • http://twitter.com/ubersalmon Howdie

    Since I’m not paying for the service I think it’s okay they do this – but probably not wise. If I was paying then get my permission. That being said the feature sounds like something I definitely would not like and would look for the off switch immediately.

  • http://twitter.com/uberpoooper Howdie

    Since I’m not paying for the service I think it’s okay they do this – but probably not wise. If I was paying then get my permission. That being said the feature sounds like something I definitely would not like and would look for the off switch immediately.

  • trulyindian

    Bing team is ridiculous. REALLY. Bing is already not up to mark and they are busy it in messing up more. These guys especially because of this test seem to out of their mind. @bingteam: focus on improving bing search results as well as its crawler first. and then if you get into a position to compete with Google then try these stupidest features.

  • trulyindian

    Bing team is ridiculous. REALLY. Bing is already not up to mark and they are busy it in messing up more. These guys especially because of this test seem to out of their mind. @bingteam: focus on improving bing search results as well as its crawler first. and then if you get into a position to compete with Google then try these stupidest features.