Microsoft 'Bing' would bring new life to old domain

The bing.com domain records were last updated in March

Microsoft's planning to relaunch its Live search engine under the name "Bing," a recent report suggests. Bing will debut with a massive ad campaign costing upward of $100 million, the folks at AdvertisingAge claim, putting both the "Live" brand and the "Kumo" codename into Microsoft's big brand graveyard.

But what is "Bing," anyway? Its definitions vary from "a heap or pile" to "a blackish sweet cherry." Its Web site, though, has a slightly more colorful palette. Sure, bing.com is coming up mainly blank as of now -- but not too long ago, someone else had a thing for Bing.

Bing.com: The Early Years

The bing.com domain name was first registered in late January 1996, just one year after yahoo.com and a year before google.com. (Microsoft snagged its own dot-com identity in 1991.) In its early incarnation, the name Bing belonged to a Colorado company trying to sell a "personal notification device" it described as "the first practical solution to personal and discrete cell phone ring notification."

So what was this "practical" and "discrete" solution? It was evidently a small contraption that would vibrate remotely when your cell phone rang. "Bing allows a person to keep their cell phone in a pocket, purse, briefcase, heavy coat, in another room, or anywhere up to a few hundred feet away, and be notified of a cell phone call without attracting attention and without having to 'wear' a clunky phone on his or her hip," an early version of bing.com explained.

Hmm. Guess the introduction of the smaller cell phone with built-in vibrate mode kind of killed that idea.

Bing's Next Thing

By 2006, the Bing notification device had buzzed out of existence and bing.com had gone back to being a parked domain. Toward the end of that year, though, someone else snatched up the domain and tried to put the "cha-ching" back into Bing.

"Bing is a new project started by Eric Hahn and funded by Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners," the revamped bing.com proclaimed. "We're building a B2B CRM pen-computing AI P2P groupware product with great SMB ROI. No, not really (we're still in stealth mode)."

Within a couple of months, bing.com had morphed into a portal for a mail service known as "EasyMail." Billed as a "new era in postal mail," the next-generation bing.com allowed Aussies to electronically send documents into a "Bing post office," which would print and fold the papers, place them in an envelope, then send them out via the postal service. That site existed in some form at bing.com through at least the beginning of 2008. What appears to be the same company is still using the "Bing" name, though now operating at the domain bingmail.com.au.

The Future of Bing

The bing.com domain records were last updated this past March and now indicate the site is owned by "Microsoft Corporation" at One Microsoft Way in Redmond. A tiny blue, orange, and white logo has appeared in the site's favicon -- that little square box that pops up next to the URL in your browser -- on and off during the day. It shows a lowercase "b" with a white-outlined orange circle inside.

So what's next for Bing? Microsoft has yet to say much, although CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to demo the company's updated search product sometime at this week's D: All Things D conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Maybe then, we'll see if Bing's the thing to put the spring back in Microsoft's swing -- or if its launch will sting worse than an ill-fated fling. (Zing.)

Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site, jrstart.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags KumoMicrosoftWindows Livebing

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?