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Bing Search API does not do Phrase Searches Anymore

    Question

  • We have been using the Bing Search API extensively within our product since last year and currently subscribing to it. During the last month, the behavior of the phrase search queries on the API have completely changed and it doesn't work as documented.

    As an example, if I search for the phrase "compete with Amyris" it returns me hits/docs that do not have the phrase at all. In many cases, the words "compete with" is very far away from the word "Amyris". All of our previous code was expecting different results which somewhat worked but now its completely not working. This is not the only example. Most of the phrase queries do not work anymore.  I've also tried it with WebSearchOptions: DisableQueryAlterations but it still doesn't work.

    https://api.datamarket.azure.com/Bing/Search/v1/Composite?Sources=%27web%27&Query=%27%22compete%20with%20Amyris%22%27

    Is there a way to make phrase queries work again? there is no new documentation about these changes over the last month which have changed the behavior of phrase queries completely.

    Thank you,

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 5:46 PM

Answers

All replies

  • Actually try this example of web query rather than the composite above:

    https://api.datamarket.azure.com/Bing/Search/v1/Web?Query=%27%22compete%20with%20Amyris%22%27

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 5:54 PM
  • I noticed the same thing and cannot track down any documentation of the change in behavior.
    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 6:41 PM
  • Hi,

    From your description, you have been using the Bing Search API within your product since last year, but during the last month, the behavior of the phrase search queries on the API have completely changed and it doesn't work as documented. Under this situation, I suggest you to contact with Bing Search API support, here is the support channel: https://support.discoverbing.com/eform.aspx?productKey=bingsearchapi&ct=eformts&scrx=1

    Best Regards


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    Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:37 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi folks,

    I just send a query with "compete with Amyris" and found this thread as a top hit.

    Can you give me more explanation for differences you are seeing?

    In addition, did you try DisableQueryAlterations flag by any chance?

    https://api.datamarket.azure.com/Bing/Search/v1/Web?Query=%27%22compete%20with%20Amyris%22%27&WebSearchOptions=%27DisableQueryAlterations%27

    Thanks,

    Max

    Friday, October 18, 2013 5:28 AM
    Owner
  • Hi Max,

    Yes, thats what I get as well but I also get 48 other hits, 47 of them do not have the phrase "compete with Amyris" anywhere in the documents. Some have "compete with" and "Amyris" on the same page but quite unrelated and sometimes not even in the same paragraph.  Some of the results just have the words "compete with" and Amyris is not there at all.

    The results are worse with DisableQueryAlterations, I get 65 results....

    A month ago the same query used to give 3 results but more accurate.

    Aman

    Friday, October 18, 2013 6:37 AM
  • We are investigating and we'll get back to you soon. This wasn't an expected change on our side.

    Thanks,

    Max

    Monday, October 21, 2013 1:16 AM
    Owner
  • Hi spiderbook,

    As we know, this issue is about Bing Search API, and it's support channel is a good way to give you some help, I will mark my thread as answer, and if you have any other issue, I suggest you create a new thread so that you will get better help from more community members.

    Best Regards


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    Click HERE to participate the survey.

    Friday, October 25, 2013 1:39 AM
    Moderator
  • that doesnt make sense. The support channel actually asked us to post on here. In fact the previous response from Max was that he will get back to us on here...
    Friday, October 25, 2013 2:08 AM
  • Here's an update on this issue:

    Bing is continually working on improving our search results, making changes frequently to offer the best user experience. In this case, some longer phrasal queries were negatively impacted by a recent change.  We are making an adjustment to handle this scenario and results should surface within the next 3 weeks.

    Stay tuned for more updates coming...

    Thanks,

    Max

    Friday, October 25, 2013 5:13 AM
    Owner
  • Hi,

    @Max thanks for your reply.

    @spiderbook as Max said if the issue is still exist after the next 3 weeks, welcome to our forum again.

    Best Regards


    We are trying to better understand customer views on social support experience, so your participation in this interview project would be greatly appreciated if you have time. Thanks for helping make community forums a great place.
    Click HERE to participate the survey.

    Friday, October 25, 2013 5:23 AM
    Moderator
  • This issue is not limited to API results:

    This string "an american actress model artist and occasional film maker." should return no matches however both through the API and at bing.com it returns 10 results none of which contain the string.

    The string should be "an american actress model artist and occasional film producer." Is there any ETA on this being fixed?

    Correctly Google is returning no results.

    Thank you

    Sunday, November 03, 2013 2:11 AM
  • Hi spiderbook,

    Have your results changed? I am still experiencing the same problem, which I think is a big issue because we are paying for these queries and they are faulty!

    How can you just remove the concept of encapsulating strings in "quotes" to return exact string matches, this concept has been around forever and goes to the core of search - what is going on.

    I am still getting results that do not contain the string or anything close to it while Google returns nothing which is correct. This is happening in both the API and Bing.com.

    Please MS fix this.

    Thank you

    Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:25 AM
  • If everything goes right, we will have it fixed within a week from now. We will keep updating as we get it deployed.

    Thanks,

    Max

    Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:33 AM
    Owner
  • Hi Max,

    Have you got any updates on this problem.

    Its been three weeks.

    Thank you

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:45 AM
  • We deployed a fix that seem to have fixed at least "compete with Amyris" query.

    The query now returns 5 results and all are exact match for me.

    Is there anything else broken still?

    Thanks,

    Max

    • Proposed as answer by detikblog Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:03 PM
    Friday, November 15, 2013 7:11 PM
    Owner
  • Hi Max,

    Exact string matching is STILL NOT WORKING, for example the only place on the Web this string should be found is among the posts above (see Google results).

    However both the Bing API and Bing.com is producing 10 results none of which contain this string. I do not understand a month ago Bing used to return no results if a string did not exist, now it is returning results that have nothing to do with the query.

    "an american actress model artist and occasional film maker."

    Why cant we have exact string matching back the way it was - if it does not exist then return NO results. Surely this is the most basic function of Web or database search. If it exists then return results if it does not exist then return no results. I do not understand why this is so difficult and how encapsulating a string in quotes is no longer respected. I mean it has always been thus.

    Thank you

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 3:33 AM
  • Hi Max,

    This may now only be an issue for Bing.com as the API is now respecting the parameter DisableQueryAlterations.

    I will do some testing and let you know. I pretty much only care about the api results but that does mean it is possible for the api and bing.com to return different results?

    Thank you

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 3:51 AM
  • Hi Max,

    This works for me - the API is respecting DisableQueryAlterations.

    Thanks for your hard work.

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 4:27 AM
  • Hi Max,

    Exact string matching is STILL NOT WORKING, for example the only place on the Web this string should be found is among the posts above (see Google results).

    However both the Bing API and Bing.com is producing 10 results none of which contain this string. I do not understand a month ago Bing used to return no results if a string did not exist, now it is returning results that have nothing to do with the query.

    "an american actress model artist and occasional film maker."

    Why cant we have exact string matching back the way it was - if it does not exist then return NO results. Surely this is the most basic function of Web or database search. If it exists then return results if it does not exist then return no results. I do not understand why this is so difficult and how encapsulating a string in quotes is no longer respected. I mean it has always been thus.

    Thank you

    Yeah. Well you should have seen what happened with these forums last time Microsoft changed them and how long it took to fix various issues with it. Like posts missing between pages of a forum even though they were there and would be bumped forward to the next page once enough posts on the previous page had been added. Like 20 posts or more between pages could not be displayed. And various other issues too from what I remember.

    Kind of like the release of Win 8 and all the sudden, for some period before Blue or 8.1 came out people had numerous issues with it and would rather have stayed on Win 7 I suppose. At least till 8.1 came out.

    So relying on an API means whenever they are updated does not mean they will work initially or even ever in the previous fashion they were used.


    Please BEWARE that I have NO EXPERIENCE and NO EXPERTISE and probably onset of DEMENTIA which may affect my answers! Also, I've been told by an expert, that when you post an image it clutters up the thread and mysteriously, over time, the link to the image will somehow become "unstable" or something to that effect. :) I can only surmise that is due to Global Warming of the threads.

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 4:40 AM
  • Bing Search API and Bing Search site have quite a few differences in how results are calculated.

    Great to hear things are working now!

    thanks,

    Max

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 4:48 AM
    Owner
  • Hi Max

    Searching for "Compete with Amyris" still works, however, a composite search such as:

    "compete with amyris" OR "compete against amyris"

    does not work. A lot of irrelevant results are returned, even among the top results. The top result itself does not contain either of those phrases.

    This functionality seems to be totally broken in Bing Search. I also tested in the API with the same results.

    Is there a workaround to get it to work?

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 7:34 AM
  • If you are using bing.com then place a plus sign in front of the exact query.

    Eg. +"the exact string you want to search for"

    If you are using the API then do not forget:

    &WebSearchOptions=%27DisableQueryAlterations%27

    The plus sign in front of the bing.com query will remove irrelevant results, it is critical but does not appear to be documented...

    I have just checked and all appears to be OK at the moment, meaning it appears to be returning the correct results.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:34 AM
  • Yes, correct, it works well with a single phrase.

    But try to combine it with a second one such as:

    +"the exact string you want to search for" OR +"another string you want to search for"

    And it breaks down completely.

    Any comments on that?

    This functionality is documented so it ought to work...

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:38 AM
  • Yes, correct, it works well with a single phrase.

    But try to combine it with a second one such as:

    +"the exact string you want to search for" OR +"another string you want to search for"

    And it breaks down completely.

    Any comments on that?

    This functionality is documented so it ought to work...

    It actually does NOT work with single phrase. I'm working with a product search and I get many irrelevant results with (just an example): "nokia n600" (old, irrelevant phone model with not that much results)

    Here is the url I tested

    https://api.datamarket.azure.com/Bing/Search/v1/Web?Query=%27%22nokia%20n600%22%27&WebSearchOptions=%27DisableQueryAlterations%27&Market=%27en-US%27

    On the page are results like"Nec n600" (totally different product and no "nokia n600" match found) and "Nokia n800" (different product as well).

    This BUG makes the search api almost unusable as the results are totally different products that we are looking for! As other people mentioned, google works as expected.

    edit: Using + before result ie: +"nokia n600" does not make any difference

    On www.bing.com search page adding + before query works as expected (returns no irrelevant results).

    (screenshot below)

    (sorry can't insert screenshot as I'm not "verified" yet even though I have been azure user for years.. just created this account. sigh)




    • Edited by mxmattil Wednesday, October 21, 2015 12:42 PM
    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 12:36 PM
  • You're right. Even for a single phrase it works sometimes and other times not.

    It would be great with a comment from someone from Microsoft's Bing development team on this.

    These errors should be fixed so the search engine works according to documentation - and on par with Google Search.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 12:42 PM
  • Try this, because I am getting reliable results with a single phrase:

    https://api.datamarket.azure.com/Bing/SearchWeb/v1/Web?Query=%27%22nokia%20n600%22%27&WebSearchOptions=%27DisableQueryAlterations%27&$format=JSON

    Drop the market param.

    Change /Search/ to /SearchWeb/

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 2:42 PM
  • Currently, I get consistent results between the API and bing.com for all single phrase searches.

    But must use +"my string" at bing.com to get no results and match what the API returns.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015 2:51 PM
  • The main problem, though, is that Bing Search breaks down completely, if you make a composite query like this one:

    "nokia n600" OR "nokia n700"

    This is documented functionality that ought to work. Can someone from Microsoft please comment on it?

    Is there a way to make such a query work?

    Thursday, October 22, 2015 7:21 AM