Sep
23
2011

Bing – The New Search Engine From Microsoft

Bing is the new search engine from Microsoft, who is aiming to rival Google as the recognised search engine. Bing believes there is plenty of improvement that can be made in search. At the moment only around 25% of searches are successful, so there is room for improvement there. If Bing can return more accurate search results then they could have an advantage of Google, Yahoo, and others.

Bing has some nice features that differentiate it from the other search engines. Once a term is searched for it offers refined search terms down the left hand side of the page. For example if someone search for Times, the results that appear at the top of the page are World Time Server, a Wikipedia page about time, and Time Magazine’s site. In addition on the left hand side of the page are a list of options, including Train Times, Radio Times, Time Online (the Times newspaper site), and World Time. This allows the visitor to refine their search so it is more specific to what they are looking for. Once they refine their search they have further options within this new search. So if World Time is clicked on, option such as World Time Zones, World Time Difference and World Time Server appear. In some ways this serves a similar role to Google Suggest, where options appear under the search box as you are typing a term into Google. The advantage Bing’s version has is that it goes deeper than just the original search. Research shows that it can take a long time to find what you are searching for, and this is one way that Bing is attempting to make that long search shorter. Users want relevance from their search results and help with complex searches, and to a certain extent this feature helps.

Something that Bing considers important is having a more locally focussed search engine. They aim to make the US version much different from the UK version and the other territories. For example if someone is searching for Victoria in the UK version, they are unlikely to want returns about Victoria in the mid West of America, Canada or Australia. The UK version will therefore return results referring to Victoria in London or Queen Victoria.

Another feature in Bing is that you can hover the mouse cursor just to the right of the results, and a blurb about the site appears. This consists of some text that describes what is in the site. This can save the visitor time as there is no need to go into sites that doesn’t offer what you are interested in.

Something that Bing is attempting to develop is a Fair Price Predictor for flights. This will tell users if a particular flight is likely to go up or down in price. This will aid the user, as they can then wait to book if it is predicted that the price will decrease, or book immediately if it is predicted to rise. Microsoft claims that this will be 80% accurate.

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