Bing, Microsoft's newest take on web search, is open to everyone this morning. What makes it different from its really, really well-known competition, and what unique features does it offer? Let's take a look at early reviews and discoveries.
As of this morning, Bing.com seems to have replaced Live.com (with Live.com redirecting to Bing) as Microsoft's prime search product. It was supposed to launch Wednesday, but appeared to go live earlier. Many international users have noted different results and features in different languages and IP addresses, so be aware that everything listed below might not apply to all "versions" of Bing.
Video Previews: Right now, it's a blessing and a curse for Bing. Digital Inspiration suggests that international users can use Bing to watch fairly lengthy previews of Hulu clips by hovering their mouse over the results for search terms like "The Office." That's pretty helpful, assuming you like automatic video plays with sound. Then Loic Le Meur tweaks the safe search settings and points out that Bing will preview any video clip—including the kind that get you fired at work. Yikes.
RSS results feeds: Nothing too sexy to show off, but your browser should auto-detect an RSS feed on the results page for search terms, and, given that it's a new and growing search database, Bing's results feeds might give you some new and intriguing links on the items you're keeping up with.
- 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."
Finally, here's a video tour of Bing, for those voyeuristic types who aren't into actually testing out a search engine with real queries:
And now it's your turn. Tell us what you think of the newly-launched Bing—what it does well, where it fails, what you might use it for—in the comments.