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Bing dies (briefly) after Microsoft hits wrong button

Test config kills search site

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Bing was hit by a widespread outage Thursday evening after Microsoft accidentally updated the live site with changes intended for a test environment.

While the search site was offline for only a half hour, it embarrassingly was ankled the same day Microsoft was parading about new Bing features and updates to woo market share away from Google and Yahoo!.

During the outage, which extended between 6:30 and 7:00 PM PST (2:30-3:00 AM Friday, GMT), those visiting the website received an error message or incomplete search results, Microsoft said.

"The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences," wrote Satya Nadella, senior veep of Microsoft's Online Services Division on the Bing Blog.

A Microsoft spokeswoman elaborated to El Reg via email that the configuration change had been mistakenly propagated from staging to production.

"It was supposed to stay in the test environment - it was a mistake," she wrote.

Back at the Bing blog, Nadella said that as soon the issue was discovered, Microsoft rolled back the website to its previous build. "We strive to maintain a high standard of operational excellence at Bing. We are running a post mortem to find out how our software processes need to be improved to prevent anything like this from happening again," she said.

Bing is the third most popular search engine in the US. It handled 9.9 per cent of the country's search queries this October, according to traffic counter, comScore. Yahoo!, meanwhile, handled 18 per cent and Google a whopping 65.4 per cent. ®

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