Microsoft's new 'Bing' search engine doesn't go live until June 3rd, but a preview version is online right now. I hopped in and took Bing for a spin this morning. Here are a few of the things I noticed;
1. Bing's sidebar is really awesome. Whenever you enter a search term a list of related searches pops up on the sidebar, along with a list of your most recent search history.
2. Video searches on Bing are fantastic, and Microsoft has a clear edge on Google here. By scrolling over the search results you can watch a thumbnail-sized version of the full video play.
3. If you're looking for a definition or quick summary of a topic, try adding “what is” before the search term. For example, a search of “what is string theory” turns up a definition that precedes all of the search results. Likewise, searching “U.S. Presidents” sends you a list of every president (via Encarta) and then gives you your results under the list.
4. The Tour Bing feature is Microsoft's way of introducing new users too all of Bing's features.
5. The 'travel' feature allows you to enter your flight number right into the engine to immediately find out your flight time, as well as whether or not your plane has been delayed.
6. When you use Bing to do your shopping the Bing 'cashback' icon pops up on certain items. Underneath the icon you'll see a certain percentage listed, this is the percent of the item cost that Bing will refund to you as thanks for using their shopping service.
Honestly, Bing looks pretty good. The layout isn't perfect; there are a lot of different features and options and it can get difficult to keep track of them all. Unless you make an effort to use Bing features it comes across as virtually identical to Google. Still, from what I can see Bing is a solid, dependable search engine that packs a lot of cool functions into its UI. Now, if only Microsoft would do something about that awful, awful name.
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Seriously guys, Bing? What about that word sounded cool?