Microsoft Bing, the replacement of the Microsoft Live Search (which was the replacement for MSN Search) goes live on 3rd June 2009 (at www.bing.com.au in Australia). Microsoft Bing was codenamed Kumo in development and, according to Microsoft offers a better search experience (when will Microsoft finally settle on a single name for their search?). According to Microsoft here are a few of the features of Bing:
Making Search Easier
Almost any search engine can provide basic results, but with Bing, we’ve improved many aspects of the search experience.
- Home page. Because you may not always know about the range of content a search engine can find for you, the Bing home page includes a beautiful new image daily, information hotspots embedded in that image, and clear links for starting your searches for video, news, shopping, travel, images or maps.
- Autosuggest. Bing examines what you are typing in the search box and will automatically suggest similar terms or common refinements related to the term you are typing. For example, when searching for “California,” you will see common related searches, including “California DMV,” “California lottery” and “California ski report.”
- Best Match. The Bing Best Match feature is designed to make finding relevant information easier by cutting down the number of clicks and getting you to your final destination faster. Best Match results include customer service numbers for retail sites, the ability to track a package right from the search page, deep links to common pages within the site and much more.
- Document Preview. Nearly one-quarter of searches result in rapid click back, when you realize that the search result was not what you were looking for.2 Document Preview lets you hover over a search result to see a preview of the site’s content, which helps you determine whether the site is likely to contain the information you’re looking for – before you click.
- Instant Answers. Bing provides Instant Answers that immediately return highly relevant direct answers in response to a specific search. For example, entering a flight number will return the most recent flight information and display it prominently in the results, saving the hassle of going to a separate page. Other Instant Answers on Bing include stock prices, local weather, sports scores and more.
Making Search More Organized
Our research indicates that 72 percent of people surveyed said current search results are too disorganized.3 To provide order to the chaos of search, Bing analyzes search results for certain types of search terms and organizes them so they’re easy for you to navigate. These categories include travel, shopping, health, technology, autos, entertainment, sports, animals and more.
- Explore Pane. Located on the left side of the screen, the Explore Pane lets you easily filter search results. Features in the Explore Pane include categorized search results called Quick Tabs, links to related searches and past searches in Session History. The Explore Pane also can be used in the local, travel and shopping experience for powerful refinement of your search results.
- Quick Tabs. Half of all searches are eventually refined to find more specific results.4 Quick Tabs anticipate your intent when searching and offers easy access to some of the most common refinements for a given search. For example, when searching for a favorite musician, Quick Tabs let you filter results by albums, biography, videos and images. These tabs change dynamically based on the search term. Searches for a certain city name yield Quick Tabs for tours, travel and images; searches for a car model generate categories on reviews, accessories and videos.
- Related Searches. When searching for a specific result, our research has shown that people also like to expand their search to explore related topics. After making an initial search, Related Searches provides a list of related search terms, helping you easily expand a search to find more great results.
- Session History. Nearly half of all searches are a repeat of a previous search.5 Session History provides easy access to searches from your current search session so that you don’t need to initiate a new query to get back to an earlier result.
- Video search. Bing video search helps make finding, previewing and watching videos easier. Bing indexes content from video sites across the Web and our own index of full-length television shows. It also includes filtering tools to narrow a search to make it easier for you to find the exact video you’re looking for.
- Image search. Bing image search includes infinite scroll, which lets you easily browse image results without clicking to a new page. Bing also has powerful filtering tools for images to make it easier to find just the right image.
- News search. Bing news search lets you search the latest news from across the Web and receive news alerts.
- Bing Maps. Bing Maps lets you easily find, discover, plan and share location information, including maps and directions and engaging bird’s-eye,6 3-D and aerial imagery.
Providing Tools to Help You Complete Tasks
Bing was designed to help you make smarter, more informed decisions faster. Bing focuses on four main areas:
- Shopping. Bing combines many of the shopping features available across the Web into one intuitive and easy-to-use experience. In addition to providing many product search refinement tools, Bing also scans the Web for user and expert reviews, organizes them by product attribute, and then ranks the sentiment in the reviews as either positive or negative. This enables you to filter quickly through lots of information to inform a purchase decision.
- Travel. BingTravel analyzes billions of pieces of airfare and hotel data to offer you flight Price Predictors and hotel Rate Indicators. Based on science, not marketing, Bing Travel enables you to make smart, well-informed decisions when planning a trip, every time.
- Local. Today’s search engines don’t always help people make informed decisions about the quality of a restaurant or the best way to contact a local mechanic. Bing presents relevant content including user reviews aggregated from local content sites, hours of operation for local businesses, one-click directions, maps and traffic reports.
- Health. Bing helps people find health information online. While there is no substitute for the expertise of a trained physician, Bing provides you with easy access to medical information from nine trusted resources to help you make more informed decisions about personal care.
O.k. that’s what Microsoft has to say about Bing. Bing is sure to be more popular than the recently over hyped Wolfram Alpha ‘answer engine’ however little of what we are being told about Bing sounds new in comparison to Google. Roll on Wednesday 3 June when we’ll be able to give Microsoft Bing a test run…