REVIEW: First Look at Microsoft’s New BING Search Engine

Microsoft is about to release the third incarnation of their online search platform.  Originally called MSN Search, then Live Search . . . it’s now being rebranded as "Bing"
Bing’s technology attempts to be more than "just search" and deliver something Microsoft refers to as a “decision engine”.
Bing’s Search Sections: 
Web – Find what you’re looking for and a whole lot more with enhanced Silverlight Search History.
Web Search Features:
    • Save your searches locally or online using SkyDrive
    • Organize using folders
    • Add Notes
    • Share your results with friends on Windows Live, Facebook & Email
Images – Find the pictures that you’ve been wanting to see
Select Images by:
    • Size – small, medium, large, wallpaper
    • Layout – square, wide, tall
    • Color – color, black & white
    • Style – photograph, illustration
    • People – just faces, head & shoulders, other
Videos – Watch your favorite shows and videos
Select Videos by:
    • Length – short (< 5 min), medium (5-20 min), long (> 20 min)
    • Screen Size – standard, widescreen
    • Resolution – low, medium, high
    • Source – MSN, AOL, MTV, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube, MySpace, Dailymotion, Metacafe
    • TV (genre) Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Reality, SciFi & Fantasy, Talk & Info
    • Music (genre) – Alternative, Classic, Country, Electronica, Pop, Rap & Hip Hop, Reggae, Rock, Soul, R&B
    • Most Watched (date) Today, This week, This month, All time
Shopping – Find, research, and buy the things you want using Bing cashback. Find great deals on the products you want from the stores that you know and trust. Get cashback savings. 
What is Bing cashback? Bing cashback is a great way for you to save money when you shop online. Find great deals on millions of products from hundreds of brand name stores that you know and trust. You’ll earn a percentage of the product price as cashback. The search advertising fees from participating stores are passed on to you.  After we wait for potential returns and exchanges, your savings will be rewarded to you by your choice of a deposit to your PayPal account, direct deposit to your bank account, or a check in the mail.
Here’s how Bing cashback works:
    • Search for cashback deals using Bing. Click a cashback listing and find great deals on the product you chose.
    • Your results list the cashback savings you’ll receive off the store price and your bottomline price, too.
    • Compare and sort products by the bottomline price. Click the best deal to go to the store.
    • Don’t worry if you don’t see the cashback symbol or savings when making a purchase at a store’s website. We’ll email you after your purchase to confirm your cashback.
    • Your first time using Bing cashback, we’ll ask for your email address so we can tell you how to quickly open your free cashback account.
    • Save each time you shop with Bing cashback. Every time you make an eligible purchase, we’ll email you to confirm your Bing cashback savings.
    • You can request your cashback about 60 days after your purchase (the waiting period varies by store) and with at least $5 in your cashback account. Terms and conditions.
News & Sports – Find out what’s happening in the world today
Select News & Sports by:
    • NEWS – World, U.S., Local, Business, Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Sci/Tech, Health
Maps – See where it is and how to get there (Bing Maps is "powered" by Microsoft Virtual Earth)
xRank – See who and what everyone’s searching for most (movers, celebrities, musicians, politicians, bloggers)  
Use xRank to:
    • Search – Tell us a name and we’ll tell you who they are and how they rate.
    • Learn – Browse a bio or get the latest news headlines about the person you’re interested in.
    • Explore – Explore a celebrity’s latest videos, images, movies, albums, and more.
    • Relate – Discover relationships among notable people. Thumbnail photos at the bottom of xRank show you the associates, friends, enemies, and romances, of the person you’re interested in.
    • Scan – Look over the rankings for names that interest you. Arrow icons show how their movement is trending. Movement at the top of the list means more than it does near the bottom.
    • Track – View a person’s popularity over the past six months on the xRank History chart. Under the xRank History chart, find the top-moving searches. These are real searches from users on the day the person peaked in popularity on xRank. 
Local – Look up businesses and see where to find them
Local Business Selections:
    • Arts & Entertainment – Movie Theaters , Adult Entertainment , Amusement …
    • Automotive & Vehicles – New & Used Car Dealers , Aircraft , Auto Care & Accessories …
    • Business to Business – Agriculture & Food , B2B Communications & Advertising , B2B Computers & Electronics …
    • Computers & Technology – Cable Television & Satellite , Cellular & Wireless , Computer & Web Publishing …
    • Education – Adult Education , Alternative Schools & Home Schooling , Charter Schools …
    • Food & Dining – Restaurants , Taverns, Bars & Cocktail Lounges , Bakeries …
    • Government & Community – Animal Shelters & Humane Societies , Associations , Cemeteries & Memorial Parks …
    • Health & Beauty – Abuse & Addiction Treatment , Alternative Medicine , Assisted Living & Care Services …
    • Home & Family – Child Care Services , Appliances , Bathrooms …
    • Legal & Finance – Banks , Accounting & Bookkeeping , Appraisers …
    • Professionals & Services – Apparel Services , Audio-Visual Equipment Services , Copying Services …
    • Real Estate & Construction – Apartments , Building & Construction Services , Buildings …
    • Shopping – Florists , Malls & Shopping Centers , Antiques …
    • Sports & Recreation – Archery & Shooting , Bicycles , Bowling …
    • Travel – Hotels & Motels , Lodging , Aircraft Charter & Rental Companies …
Travel – Use hotel and fare predictions to decide when to book (Bing Travel section is "powered" by Orbitz)

I found Microsoft’s Bing to be a very quick search engine, and the interface is clean. Microsoft’s API will allow programmers to use the many powerful features of Bing within their own applications.
Microsoft’s only hurdle (of course) is brand name recognition.  Product names like Aspirin, Kleenex, and Xerox have become "regular words" — just as the word "Google" is now synonymous with any generic web search.
However, just because Google is #1 by a long-shot . . . doesn’t mean people should give up on trying to compete with them.
It was only a few years ago that Microsoft renamed MSN Search to become LIVE Search — and now  believe the world will type "BING" when they’re thinking of searching for something.
Time will tell … (good luck!)

More info: Watch Channel 9’s Bing Test Drive


About blakehandler

BLAKE was a Microsoft MVP and award winning programmer with over 20+ years experience providing complete Windows and networking support for small to medium sized businesses. BLAKE is also Jazz Musician and Instructor for residential clients on the Los Angeles West Side.
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5 Responses to REVIEW: First Look at Microsoft’s New BING Search Engine

  1. Tim says:

    The technology looks very good, and original.However the there is absolutely no reason to change the name from Live Search.Quite a lot of people I have seen discussing Bing, think the name is hilariously bad.I am inclined to agree. It is one of the worst names I have ever heard.

  2. lee says:

    Well, what’s new? I have aafter as a search engine for a year now. it gives me faster searches, useful links as I am typing in a question and wonderful cashback offers on anything from walmart to Nike shoes. Any reason why I should switch?

  3. teh says:

    My first test purchase with Bing was a bust. MS claims their system has no record and I was very careful to log into Bing, navigate to the merchant site and complete the order w/in 30 minutes (cookies enabled, pop-up blocking disabled). No where in the purchase did I get any confirmation that Bing recognized the buy, thus no way to prove I used Bing.

  4. Dennes says:

    Seems to be working. I mean, it’s only been a couple of days since I began using it and so my usage is limited but I take it as a given that a record of what you do is going to be kept on any search engine. Let’s not be naive here. But I seriously do not worry about such a thing. I figure the better they tailor the ads to what I like, the better. But both the MSN and the Windows Live toolbars already have ”bing” for the search, so why have that up at the top, also. Why not have the ”google” option on that one, just for another source. Seems like overkill having bing on every single search box…

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