June 17, 2009

Bing, Microsoft's New Search Engine

Microsoft's search engine, Live Search, has transitioned to a new product called Bing. While it may not be a Google killer anytime soon, it has been making its mark already by overtaking Yahoo's market share during its first week of release. Microsoft has spent considerable time and money developing this new search engine. Let's take a look at the some of the features.

The Look

Bing's layout is quite clean. The main search box is prominently displayed. A brief list of searchable categories is listed on the left side of the page. What is unique about the Bing homepage is the background image. This image, which changes everyday, features clickable hotspots that conduct searches related to the background image. For example, the above Bing screenshot, from June 6, is a picture of Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. The hotspots linked to searches, maps, images, and videos about the D-Day invasion.


Search results are displayed much like Google's, with some results linking directly to content, not just to the homepage. Additionally, many sites feature a preview option. By moving your mouse to the right of the result, content from the site will pop up in a window to give a preview of the site.

Depending on the topic, search results are often returned with an index of related search terms. For example, when searching "diabetes," a menu appears on the left side showing the search term, and beneath there are options for articles, symptoms, diet, prevention, and more. These results depend on your search term. Another interesting feature is that when you search for a medical condition, the first result listed is an article from an authoritative source such as MayoClinic.com or Medlineplus.gov.

Bing also keeps a history that logs all of your searches. While this is helpful for users who want to maintain privacy, this can easily be cleared or turned off.

Special Features

Bing has several other features. One of the most interesting is video preview. When you search for videos, you can hover your mouse over any search result and can watch a brief preview of that video with audio.

Another great feature is the image search. Images by default are displayed as thumbnails. To see the image source, just hover your mouse over the image. And, unlike Google's image search, you don't have to click to go to the next page to see more results. In Bing, just scroll down through the list to see more images. Images are refreshed as you scroll.

While Bing may not replace Google for your everyday web searching, it is an interesting product and it worth a try. For more information about Bing, go here.

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