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Bing bids for your search requests

9:49 AM Mon, Jun 01, 2009 |
Posted by: Walt Zwirko
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For People of a Certain Age, the name “Bing” conjures up the image of a crooner who presided over a golf tournament.

For others, the word is the second half of a catchphrase (“bada bing!”) made popular by “The Sopranos.”

But starting this morning, Bing takes on new meaning as Microsoft makes a fresh bid to compete with Google’s venerable search engine.

While I’ve only had a short time to give Bing a spin, I am already impressed with its user-friendliness.

Unlike Google’s austere home page, Bing greets the user with a colorful image background that changes every day; today’s theme is hot air balloons. (You can also choose a plain background, if desired). Click the image for a larger view.

There’s an obvious box into which you type your search requests, and — like Google — you’ll see an automated list of suggestions appear instantly to help you zero in on your target.

For instance, typing in the word “Titanic” generates a list that includes “titanic movie,” “titanic survivors” and “titanic facts.”

Bing’s main list of results is designed to appear almost identical to Google’s display. But in the left-hand column, you’ll find other helpful ways to drill down to important information. The search page for “titanic movie” offers up a sub-search heading with topics including “images,” “cast,” “DVD,” “trailer,” “poster,” “quotes” and “videos.”

Speaking of video, Bing will also help you find online clips of interest. Its results page is a matrix of thumbnail images; hover your mouse over an image and a snippet from the clip starts playing back! It’s a rich, fascinating and interactive way to browse, and I was surprised at how smoothly it worked. Click the image for a larger view.

In the first hours of its official existence, Bing seems to be responding quickly to requests from its archive of millions of Web pages. I find it interesting that Microsoft does not choose to play a numbers game by trumpeting how many pages Bing has in its index; rather, it is focusing its marketing on making it easier for computer users to search for and find what they’re seeking — a “decision engine.”

Bing isn’t likely to put Google out of business any time soon, but it’s clear that this effort puts a real 21st century spin on Internet searching.




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