Microsofts New Search Bing goes Live!
Microsoft’s new search engine at http://www.bing.com has today gone live!
Microsoft says that research indicates that 66 percent of people are increasingly turning to search engines to assist in making decisions — above and beyond simple navigation or information retrieval, for which today’s search engines were originally built. No longer satisfied with the status quo of search, Microsoft designed Bing as a Decision Engine to provide you with intelligent search tools to help you simplify tasks and make more informed choices, from mapping out the fastest route to get home to researching a product purchase or planning a trip.
Bing provides great general search results, relevance, a big index and speed — all of the hallmarks of a good search engine. However, because sorting through search results can often be time consuming, Bing organizes popular results in a different way, designed to help you get the answers you’re looking for without having to guess the right way to phrase a search term.
According to Microsoft here are a few of the features of Bing:
Making Search Easier
Almost any search engine can provide basic results, but with Bing, we’ve improved many aspects of the search experience.
- Home page. Because you may not always know about the range of content a search engine can find for you, the Bing home page includes a beautiful new image daily, information hotspots embedded in that image, and clear links for starting your searches for video, news, shopping, travel, images or maps.
- Autosuggest. Bing examines what you are typing in the search box and will automatically suggest similar terms or common refinements related to the term you are typing. For example, when searching for “California,” you will see common related searches, including “California DMV,” “California lottery” and “California ski report.”
- Best Match. The Bing Best Match feature is designed to make finding relevant information easier by cutting down the number of clicks and getting you to your final destination faster. Best Match results include customer service numbers for retail sites, the ability to track a package right from the search page, deep links to common pages within the site and much more.
- Document Preview. Nearly one-quarter of searches result in rapid click back, when you realize that the search result was not what you were looking for.2 Document Preview lets you hover over a search result to see a preview of the site’s content, which helps you determine whether the site is likely to contain the information you’re looking for — before you click.
- Instant Answers. Bing provides Instant Answers that immediately return highly relevant direct answers in response to a specific search. For example, entering a flight number will return the most recent flight information and display it prominently in the results, saving the hassle of going to a separate page. Other Instant Answers on Bing include stock prices, local weather, sports scores and more.
Making Search More Organized
Our research indicates that 72 percent of people surveyed said current search results are too disorganized.3 To provide order to the chaos of search, Bing analyzes search results for certain types of search terms and organizes them so they’re easy for you to navigate. These categories include travel, shopping, health, technology, autos, entertainment, sports, animals and more.
- Explore Pane. Located on the left side of the screen, the Explore Pane lets you easily filter search results. Features in the Explore Pane include categorized search results called Quick Tabs, links to related searches and past searches in Session History. The Explore Pane also can be used in the local, travel and shopping experience for powerful refinement of your search results.
- Quick Tabs. Half of all searches are eventually refined to find more specific results.4 Quick Tabs anticipate your intent when searching and offers easy access to some of the most common refinements for a given search. For example, when searching for a favorite musician, Quick Tabs let you filter results by albums, biography, videos and images. These tabs change dynamically based on the search term. Searches for a certain city name yield Quick Tabs for tours, travel and images; searches for a car model generate categories on reviews, accessories and videos.
- Related Searches. When searching for a specific result, our research has shown that people also like to expand their search to explore related topics. After making an initial search, Related Searches provides a list of related search terms, helping you easily expand a search to find more great results.
- Session History. Nearly half of all searches are a repeat of a previous search.5 Session History provides easy access to searches from your current search session so that you don’t need to initiate a new query to get back to an earlier result.
- Video search. Bing video search helps make finding, previewing and watching videos easier. Bing indexes content from video sites across the Web and our own index of full-length television shows. It also includes filtering tools to narrow a search to make it easier for you to find the exact video you’re looking for.
- Image search. Bing image search includes infinite scroll, which lets you easily browse image results without clicking to a new page. Bing also has powerful filtering tools for images to make it easier to find just the right image.
- News search. Bing news search lets you search the latest news from across the Web and receive news alerts.
- Bing Maps. Bing Maps lets you easily find, discover, plan and share location information, including maps and directions and engaging bird’s-eye,6 3-D and aerial imagery.
Providing Tools to Help You Complete Tasks
Bing was designed to help you make smarter, more informed decisions faster. Bing focuses on four main areas:
- Shopping. Bing combines many of the shopping features available across the Web into one intuitive and easy-to-use experience. In addition to providing many product search refinement tools, Bing also scans the Web for user and expert reviews, organizes them by product attribute, and then ranks the sentiment in the reviews as either positive or negative. This enables you to filter quickly through lots of information to inform a purchase decision.
- Travel. BingTravel analyzes billions of pieces of airfare and hotel data to offer you flight Price Predictors and hotel Rate Indicators. Based on science, not marketing, Bing Travel enables you to make smart, well-informed decisions when planning a trip, every time.
- Local. Today’s search engines don’t always help people make informed decisions about the quality of a restaurant or the best way to contact a local mechanic. Bing presents relevant content including user reviews aggregated from local content sites, hours of operation for local businesses, one-click directions, maps and traffic reports.
- Health. Bing helps people find health information online. While there is no substitute for the expertise of a trained physician, Bing provides you with easy access to medical information from nine trusted resources to help you make more informed decisions about personal care.
So that’s what microsoft has to say but what about everyone else? Well here’s some quotes of what people have been saying on the web:
- Gizmodo: “In the automatically generated top links for Gizmodo are months-old links to single posts about the second Bill Gates/Seinfeld ad and leaked box shots of the Zune 16GB and 160GB models. Really?”
- Ars Technica: “The results for some queries blow my mind: how is it possible that the results can be so preposterously useless? Other times, though, a comparison with the old Live Search shows that Bing obviously has had its algorithm tweaked for the better.”
- Mashable: “There’s at least three very different versions of Bing right now, and depending on where you are, your Bing experience will be very different. It’s a very weird decision from Microsoft, bound to cause a lot of confusion, but hey: it’s the Microsoft way.”
- Technologizer: “Bing attempts to differentiate itself from what Steve Ballmer would call “the market leader” in search by focusing on helping users with four common action-oriented search tasks: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition and finding a local business.”
- ReadWriteWeb: “The main difference between the two search engines is that Bing offers more options on the left, including special sections for symptons, medication, children, etc. It also offers ‘related searches’, which with health-related searches is typically helpful … With Google you can get more options too, but you have to click “Show Options…” – which we’re not sure how many users do.”
For more info, here are some interesting links:
- Bing (.doc file, 37 kb)
- Bing Health (.doc file, 27 kb)
- Bing Local (.doc file, 29 kb)
- Bing Shopping (.doc file, 31 kb)
- Bing Travel (.doc file, 31 kb)