Microsoft Challenges Google to “Bing It On!”

In a bid to lure users from Google to its own search engine, Microsoft is challenging the dominant search site to a head-to-head competition.

At the Bing It On site users input a search term and are then taken to a new screen that show two sets of search results side by side for a blind “taste test.”  The user judges the competing results and selects a winner, or declares a draw.

Visitors are invited to try five searches (or “rounds”) to see which search engine’s results they like better.  Only at the end does the site reveal which results were which and declare an overall winner.

Microsoft is backing up the “Bing It On” campaign with promoted tweets as well:

The site claims that Bing beats Google 2-to-1 in the blind comparison tests — with the following caveat:

* Based on a comparison of web search results pane only; excludes ads, Bing’s Snapshot and Social Search panes and Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Korean YouTubers Can Now Upload Content — Gangnam Style!

YouTube has re-enabled content uploading in South Korea three years after a restrictive online commenting law led its parent company, Google, to block uploads to the video-sharing service.

The law, intended to prevent anonymous commenting, required any websites with more than 100,000 daily visitors to implement systems to verify that all commenters provided their real name.  Rather than comply, YouTube and 150 other sites simply disabled local uploads completely.

The South Korean government repealed the law last month, paving the way for Google to restore YouTube’s full functions in the most wired country in Asia.  Of course, Internet-savvy Koreans had already found ways to work around the restrictions, for example, logging on through a proxy, or using another country’s local version of YouTube.

Most of the 112 million viewers of K-pop rapper PSY’s video for “Gangnam Style” probably didn’t even know that Google had blocked uploads of local Korean content.

How Vi Hart Creates an Audience: A Must-See Video for Anyone in New Media

Vi Hart is a self-described “mathemusician” who became a geek phenom on YouTube with her video series Doodling in Math Class.

Below is her video musing about the eerily prescient foreword to They Became What They Beheld, a book by anthropologist Edmund Snow Carpenter published in 1970 (and now out of print), but which reads like a journalism textbook written for Generation Tweet.  The book grew out of Carpenter’s collaboration with media visionary Marshall McLuhan on a 1968 article entitled “Fashion Is Language,” for a special McLuhan issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Want more Vi?  I highly recommend her tirade against the Tyranny of Pi, her discourse on what a wack-job Pythagoras was, and her open letter to Nickelodeon regarding the mathematical impossibility* of SpongeBob’s Pineapple under the Sea.

It should be noted that the multitalented Hart also provided the moody, melancholic score for the haunting short film “Henri 2: Paw de Deux,” which just won the prestigious Golden Kitty at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival yesterday.

*WARNING: this video may intrigue you to the point that you will be powerless but to embark on her epic 3-part botano-mathematical series explaining why plants tend to grow in Fibonacci sequences.

Lionsgate greenlights “Fatal Attraction for the digital age”

Would you “Like” some boiled rabbit?  Lionsgate’s social-media horror film XOXO, billed as “Fatal Attraction for the digital age,” will depict a Facebook flirtation going horribly wrong.  According to Variety :

Story follows an on-the-rise exec who’s engaged to be married but enjoys flirting online. He meets an alluring woman on Facebook and the two begin a virtual relationship, but the Internet romance begins seeping into the protag’s actual life in a deadly way.

Variety also says “the studio plans to employ stylized visual sequences to make the online interactions more cinematic.”

The studio has hired George Nolfi (director of the “The Adjustment Bureau” and writer of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Ocean’s Twelve”), to rewrite and direct XOXO.  Lionsgate was the studio behind one of the first thrillers to exploit the fertile ground of social media, 2005’s Hard Candy, which depicted a 14-year-old girl (played by Ellen Page) turning the tables on a sexual predator who flirted with her over online chat.

Satire immitates Art immitating Life immitating Satire

Adrian Chen made a good catch today at Gawker, noting that the Onion tragicomically had to update the tragicomic story it posted yesterday “Nation Celebrates Full Week Without Deadly Mass Shooting.”

Within hours of today’s mass shooting* at the Empire State Building, the story was revised with the subhead “UPDATE: Never mind” and appended within an account of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano telling a celebrating crowd in Times Square  “You know what, forget it. There was another one about 20 blocks from here. So, party’s over. Sorry.”

Ironically/ominously (ironimously?), the original story had ended with the warning: “At press time, federal authorities had issued a reminder to all Americans that a lot can happen in 24 hours, ‘so let’s not get too excited yet.'”

* UPDATE: Never mind… It appears that the ESB shooting, while mass, was not the work of a mass-murdering psychopath, but rather the NYPD response to a shooter who murdered his former boss.  Whether that’s better or worse is a topic I’ll leave to the comments section.