Announcing Let Me Bing That For You

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Despite what your well intentioned elementary school teachers would have liked you to believe, there is such a thing as a stupid question, and you probably get them all the time via email or IM.

You also know that in half the time it takes to type the question, the person pestering you could have typed the query in their favorite search engine and received an answer immediately.

Let me Google that for you addressed this little annoyance by providing a passive aggressive means to tell annoying question askers to bugger off while at the same time teaching them the power of using a search engine to help themselves.

lmbtfyWhen I first heard about the Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, I jumped at purchasing the domain name http://letmebingthatforyou.com/ (though I was remiss in not also registering lmbtfy.com as well. If you own that domain, may I buy it off of you?)

Unfortunately, being way too busy caused me to leave the domain name unused gathering dust until I put out a call on Twitter for help. Not long after Maarten Balliauw and Juliën Hanssens answered the call and put together the bulk of this ASP.NET MVC application using jQuery and jQuery UI.

I really like what they did in that the background image for http://letmebingthatforyou.com/ changes daily to match the one on bing.com. I finally found some time to review the code, do a bit of clean-up, fix some minor issues, and test it so I am now ready to deploy it.

Keep in mind that even though I’m employed by Microsoft, this site is a pet project I’m doing on the side in collaboration with Maarten and Juliën and is in not associated with Microsoft nor Bing in any official capacity. We’re just some folks doing this for fun.

Now go try it out and release your inner snarkiness.

Found a typo or error? Suggest an edit! If accepted, your contribution is listed automatically here.

Comments

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40 responses

  1. Avatar for Tim Franklin
    Tim Franklin October 16th, 2009

    Love it!

  2. Avatar for Kim
    Kim October 16th, 2009

    Ahahaha, pretty cool :P

  3. Avatar for mark
    mark October 16th, 2009

    what the? is this legal?

  4. Avatar for Dan Dumitru
    Dan Dumitru October 16th, 2009

    So you guys did nothing but copy the lmgtfy.com idea step by step?
    And you're proud of that?

  5. Avatar for Emmanuel Morales
    Emmanuel Morales October 16th, 2009

    It was only a matter of time. ;)
    BTW, the Google version is slightly faster, or at least feels that way. I think you should start the querying animation right away to change that.

  6. Avatar for HappyAndyK
    HappyAndyK October 16th, 2009

    Awesome :) Featured on my website!

  7. Avatar for Marko
    Marko October 16th, 2009

    I really like your blog and everything you done for asp.net community..but, what starting to piss me off, is anything I will see from ms kitchen will be ORIGINAL, EVER? Or it is just gonna be this way, something someone put and create from other companies or open source community and ms get this and create his own version of that.
    Why do we (f..ng) need another version of this quite imaginative and funny idea, but now for bing search engine? It's a litlle bit pathetic, don't you think? (put on the side that I like it more how you implemented)...so, when it's gonna stop and when we see a new, ORIGINAL stuff coming from MS? :( :(
    really disappointed
    Marko
    p.s. http://tinyurl.com/yj2znbu

  8. Avatar for abeer balah
    abeer balah October 16th, 2009

    coooool, like it
    thanks samer

  9. Avatar for Pathetic Idea
    Pathetic Idea October 16th, 2009

    Does not solve any purpose nor innovative. Let's stop duplicating stuff.

  10. Avatar for Joey
    Joey October 16th, 2009

    Now if you could use the nice Aero cursor instead of the ancient old Windows one ... :-)

  11. Avatar for Matthew
    Matthew October 16th, 2009

    Wow! Can't believe how many people are pissed about "duplicating stuff" and "not original". Don't they realize that most art is copying others? You think everything Bob Ross did was original!? Was the MVC Framework even that original!? A bunch of haters is all...
    Anyways, I'm here to actually try to help instead of just criticize your awesome new web app...
    If you include quotes in your query, it kills the site with a big yellow ASP.NET exception message:
    letmebingthatforyou.com/what%20if%20I%20put%20s...
    Hope this helps.

  12. Avatar for Mohammad Azam
    Mohammad Azam October 16th, 2009

    Hi,
    There is an accessibility issue with the UI design. When you click search the tiny url appears with the orange background and there is no way to easily select the URL.
    There is a small link of the same URL at the bottom of the message which works but there should be some way to select the large font URL.

  13. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked October 16th, 2009

    @Marko Thanks for commenting. First of all, this site wasn't created by Microsoft. It was a weekend project by three guys who thought it'd be a funny parody.
    You ask the question (paraphrasing), "Why do we need this?".
    Why get upset about it? Let the market decide. If it's not for you, don't visit the site. It's a principle called the law of two feet. Many people felt the same way about Twitter (Why do we need this!). Apparently, there are people who do like it. Why rain on their parade?
    Second, regarding your point about ORIGINAL, is any innovation really original? I'd say most of the ORIGINAL innovations you see are actually copies and refinements of existing ideas.
    C# was seen as a copy of Java, but later, Java copied the Attributes (annotations in Java) and generics from C#. Innovation is one big stewing pot.
    Google for example, was a copy of other search engines, but they innovated by streamlining the UI and copying an existing mathematical concept of weighted network nodes and applied it to the web.
    Windows copied Mac which copied Xerox Parc (which you could argue truly invented something original, though they did copy the physical desk ;)
    Now, I'm not putting letmebingthatforyou.com in the same category as these things. Those are capital "I" innovations. With letmebingthatforyou.com, we've made some tiny refinements. We auto shrink the URL using TinyUrl and we dynamically update the background to match Bing.com.
    Over time, maybe we'll hopefully make some more refinements and make this less a blatant rip-off. After all, this was done on a lark over a weekend.
    My point in all this is if we as a industry stop copying each other, innovation comes to a grinding halt. It's the basis for the entire process of innovation,as long as we also make improvements and refine on the existing ideas.
    So I say to you and @Pathetic Idea, I'm not going to stop duplicating ideas. I'm going to duplicate, and try to improve. Sometimes I will fail. But once in a while, I'll succeed. But it's better than not trying at all.
    I'd love to hear about what innovative things you've done recently.

  14. Avatar for Sean
    Sean October 17th, 2009

    Oh come on, nice wordy retort there, but this 'lark' was certainly not an improvement on the original. It merely recycles someone else's idea in an attempt to pimp bing, and no amount of future changes are going to stop it from being the blat rip-off it is.
    It's not twitter, or google, or C# so whether they are original or not is immaterial. Also, why does the commenter have to have done anything original to earn the right to critique? They are just calling a spade a spade.

  15. Avatar for rtpHarry
    rtpHarry October 17th, 2009

    Hey Phil, nice idea done well. I had seen the google version and I was tempted to use it a couple of times but when I start thinking about using it then its time to stop doing the forums for the day :)
    Some friendly constructive criticism you might want to put on your todo list:
    - In firefox the search box is bigger, the gap between the go button and the bottom of the text box is taller than other paddings.
    - the www and non-www versions both serve content, i know you probably aren't too concerned about the seo with this project but its better to have 301's from one to another
    - if you click back from bing to your site the textbox is filled out with the search query. the animation still works and it overwrites ok. i dont know if this is fixable or a browser 'feature'?
    - i noticed that you don't block the redirect pages with a noindex or robots.txt
    - the "Type in a question and click the search button" text is transparent along with the background in Firefox. With today's picture it was a little hard to read.
    ok im done :)

  16. Avatar for Eber Irigoyen
    Eber Irigoyen October 17th, 2009

    kinda funny you can mess up with the query as it's typing it

  17. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked October 17th, 2009

    @Sean the way I see it, I've given the smart-asses of the world a choice in search engines. ;)

  18. Avatar for Sean
    Sean October 17th, 2009

    See, now that I can understand. It's not copy-catting, it's freedom of choice!

  19. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked October 17th, 2009

    @Sean, no, it's probably both. ;)

  20. Avatar for Matt Hinze
    Matt Hinze October 17th, 2009

    My dad used to say, there's no such this as a stupid question, only an inquisitive idiot.

  21. Avatar for Jason
    Jason October 18th, 2009

    The idea is a pretty unoriginal marketing attempt. Then again, Microsoft is usually playing catch-up and stealing ideas.

  22. Avatar for Lee Timmins
    Lee Timmins October 18th, 2009

    Jason just like your argument i pretty unoriginal. I think we've all heard the Microsoft stealing ideas stuff before. Phil mentions this project is his own personal side project and just because he works for Microsoft doesn't mean it should be associated with them.

  23. Avatar for Suprotim
    Suprotim October 18th, 2009

    Good job!
    A user pointed out that when searching for C++ using http://www.letmebingthatforyou.com/, it converts to C

  24. Avatar for Lee Timmins
    Lee Timmins October 18th, 2009

    "Jason just like your argument i pretty unoriginal" - the i should be is and then it makes abit more sense :).

  25. Avatar for Robert Harvey
    Robert Harvey October 18th, 2009

    Why rehash a bad idea?
    LMGTFY causes no end of consternation on StackOverflow, where being snarky for asking a simple question has been elevated to an art form, by people wanting to feel superior I guess. Whatever happened to civility?
    The issue has become so thorny that it has spurred a lenthy dialog on meta.stackoverflow.com: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=lmgtfy

  26. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked October 19th, 2009

    @Jason I agree, it's not original. However, I'm not a marketer and this isn't a marketing effort. As I mentioned to Sean, I'm just being a smart-ass and providing a choice in search engines. This has nothing to do with Microsoft's marketing efforts.

  27. Avatar for TD
    TD October 19th, 2009

    Jeez, lighten up, people! I got a chuckle out of it.

  28. Avatar for Frank
    Frank October 19th, 2009

    Ignore the hate, keep doing your thing and have fun :)

  29. Avatar for Wade
    Wade October 19th, 2009

    Doesn't handle quotes very well, they end up html encoded in the animation.

  30. Avatar for Immo
    Immo October 19th, 2009

    Very cool website and idea ;) I hope nobody comes from Microsoft and look to your good photos. A perfect clone!!!

  31. Avatar for Andrew Pritchard
    Andrew Pritchard October 19th, 2009

    Boy, tough crowd. I must have missed the part in the post that tried to pass letmebingthatforyou off as a totally original idea. At least a few people found it entertaining. I for one had never heard of lmgtfy.com, so now I've got two fun new ways of being a smart ass when "inquisitive idiots" (thanks @Matt Hinze - love it!!) come calling. Thanks!

  32. Avatar for Marko
    Marko October 19th, 2009

    Ok, I admit, I was little over the line, sorry for that. I just reacted on impulse because I really like what you did in past and what are you doing for other developers in .net space.
    I do not have rights to criticize you without some innovative online idea/project, that is true also, but here I am taking position as average .net developer that, as I said, really like new directions that ms is taking in web development. So, when I am opening haacked.com, I am expecting to see new things and thoughts about how we can more improve tools and practices and when I see something like "Let me bing that for you" which is, lets be honest about that, just pure bing(ms) marketing, well...you know :)
    I do not know, maybe it is better to "if you don't have something nice to say, don't talk", on the other side, maybe comments on blog are built just for that-to honestly tell what you think, as I did.
    anyway
    Cheers and no hard feelings :)
    Marko

  33. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked October 20th, 2009

    @Marko no hard feelings taken!
    Honestly, I have no relation to the Bing team or its marketing structure. However, I will admit I like Bing. They have a lot of nice touches (like the picture on the homepage). In fact, I made it the default search engine in Google Chrome. ;)
    I didn't do this to promote Bing, but to offer choices as I mentioned earlier. For example, if I'm going to be a smart ass to other Microsofties in mail threads, they might prefer the fact that I used Bing (via letmebingthatforyou.com) might soften the sting.
    This was literally a lark we put together and I didn't mean for it to sound like it was some sort of big deal. Lesson learned for next time as I was quite taken aback by some of the negative reactions I received. But I take it all in stride. :)

  34. Avatar for bob
    bob October 20th, 2009

    is this moderated?

  35. Avatar for markus
    markus October 27th, 2009

    hehe nice. cool idea i like it.

  36. Avatar for EricSB
    EricSB November 1st, 2009

    Any links to source code? I'm carious to see how you retrieved the daily Bing image as I had to do something simliar. :)

  37. Avatar for Andrew
    Andrew November 8th, 2009

    Wow, I'm amazed at the negative responses to something that you and some buddies spit out in your spare time.
    Phil, one thing you need to rememeber is that the negative reactions are the vocal minority, most people really don't care about this sort of stuff. If you make a site that is a parody (or copy) of an existing site and you generate a bit of traffic, then good on you.

  38. Avatar for Alicia Mergo
    Alicia Mergo November 12th, 2009

    You had great idea purchasing this domain. Sometimes you must act quickly to earn something and purchasing specific domain names seems just right thing to do. Even if you don't want to use them all the time you could sell them for satisfying amount of money.

  39. Avatar for ReTox
    ReTox March 4th, 2010

    Pathetic and unoriginal... just a pollution
    As Steve said:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upzKj-1HaKw
    (no, I'm not a Mac user)

  40. Avatar for Joel
    Joel November 1st, 2010

    There's so many negative comments. :(
    Yeah, you did copy someone's idea, but I don't think that is bad. I was doing a lmgtfy and thought "what an ugly interface... I wonder if someone made a Bing version..."
    I would like to say thank you for such a good and useful website.
    Only suggestion I have is to use an Aero style cursor with a shadow (probably a PNG).