The SEO tags aren't the only April Fools' joke from Bing this year. You didn't think they'd get through the day without taking a shot at Google, did you?
They introduced Bing Basic. There's no mention of Google in the announcement, but it's not hard to guess what the "telltale query" referred to is.
"Every day on the Bing homepage, we strive to bring you a picture of the world that you’ve never seen before," says Bing principal UX manager Michael Kroll. "Just a single image a day, but always something memorable and beautiful. But for all the variety we’ve explored through the thousands of images we’ve showcased on our homepage since 2009, there are still internet searchers for whom full motion videos of South Pacific beaches, images of exploding geysers or 3-D underwater scenes are just too engaging. Indeed we’ve been told many people come to Bing to find the name of the movie with tom cruise and a unicorn only to get lost for days clicking around the homepage image."
"So we ran some numbers on this unique online behavior, did some ethnographic research to study habits and tastes; and then took a shot at redesigning Bing’s homepage to discourage this behavior of exploration and discovery," continues Kroll. "So today we’re running a special test, where if you visit bing.com and enter a certain telltale query, you’ll get something a little more bland. We decided to go back to basics, to the dawn of the Internet, to reimagine Bing with more of a 1997, dial-up sensibility in mind. We may see some uptick in our numbers based on this test, but the main goal here is just to learn more about how our world would look if we hadn’t evolved."
So if you go to Bing.com, and search for "google," you'll be presented with Bing Basic:
It's a pretty good shot at Google who continues to think, for some reason, that you might just want to search for something rather than look at pretty pictures when you go to a search engine. In fact, they recently got rid of the ability to set your homepage image.
On Bing Basic, there are little hidden squares in the image that you can mouseover for links, much like the typical Bing homepage. On of them says, "Having trouble seeing this image of an arctic fox eating marshmallows in a snowstorm? Click here to zoom out." That takes you to images of arctic foxes. It's a dig at all the white space. Get it?
One of the boxes says, "When there's nothing else to look at...you may take drastic measures." That links you to a video of "Watch Paint Dry...In HD!!!".
One says, "If blank space is your thing...you could go low-tech." That takes you to an image search for "plain white paper".
Finally, the last box says, "With so many delicious flavors available, most people still choose vanilla. What's your favorite?" Naturally, that links to the "Bing it On" challenge.
Strictly speaking about ice cream, I have to say, vanilla is a great flavor. It goes great with just about any topping.
With its numerous April Fools' jokes (one is currently trending on Bing's real homepage), Google appears to be continuing to pretend that Bing doesn't exist.