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

By Kip Kniskern | In Bing | Posted May 9, 2012

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