Posts Tagged ‘Turbocharged Travel Search’

Microsoft Bing

Microsoft Bing

While Google slips in new features every few weeks, Microsoft favors the big launch, and for its major push into the search market that launch is today. For the past week, the tech press has been speculating that instead of using the project’s code name, Kumo, the final product would be called Bing; located at http://www.bing.com, will begin to roll out over the coming days and will be fully deployed worldwide on Wednesday, June 3.

It’s unlikely that Bing will unseat Google anytime soon, but its slick interface and tailored search results certainly give the search giant a run for its money.

Basically, Bing increases the chances that you’ll get the answer you need right on the results page, without the need to click to another site, which may not even have what you’re looking for. Foremost among new features that serve this goal is the “quick-page preview,” which displays text from pages in the results when you hover the mouse over the right side of a result’s entry. It’s one of those “why wasn’t that always there?” features that you quickly become dependent on.

Other ways Bing gets answers you want directly on its results page are in the results text and deep links. And you can search inside large sites or check FedEx or UPS tracking numbers from text boxes right in the results.

Interface wise rather than the blank white screen and logo that greets you on Google, Bing welcomes you with a beautiful, usually geographic but sometimes current-events-related image. The image loads after the search functionality, so it won’t prevent you from starting your search immediately. Live Search had these images, but with Bing you can go back and see all the ones from the last week. At the bottom of the home page you’ll see hot searches and travel and shopping topics, too.

Starting with this first search page, the consistency of interface begins: The left sidebar is always there to offer options, categories, and filters to fine-tune your search results. This is the case whether you’ve performed a video, image, or regular Web search. The consistency is welcome; other search engines use different layouts for each type of search.

Does Bing Have Enough Bling?

Microsoft has identified several of the problems with Web search as it stands today. Much of the time users are not really looking for a Web page but for an answer. By providing results that answer users’ questions immediately rather than requiring them to navigate to another page and back if the first one didn’t yield the info they were looking for, Bing brings value and efficiency to Web searches. I didn’t run into any cases where Google’s results were more relevant than Bing’s, So it’s unlikely that Bing will unseat Google anytime soon, but it’s a good thing for everyone to have more appealing choices, and some competition, when it comes to Web searching.