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Thursday, June 04, 2009


Funny how that word reminds me of "Ned the Head Ryerson" the insurance salesman in the movie Groundhog's Day. But in this case Bing is the latest attempt by Microsoft to create a search engine that can compete with Google, replacing Live search.

The similarities with Google are interesting: one word name, very simple front page interface, and sponsored (pay per click) ads by Google. They even have a Bing Community Blog - which is similar to the Google community blogs. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery but will having a search engine choice that so closely resembles Google be successful?

How is Bing different?
  • When you hover your mouse pointer at the right side of the search results, you'll get a preview of the website content and other links in the site (although this feature seems a bit hidden, you have to know that you are supposed to hover over the small orange orb)
  • If Bing understands what you are asking it will show fewer results. One example: if you search for Facebook it will give only one result - facebook. But what if you were searching on data about facebook?
  • Some search results are divided into categories like news, songs, movies, biography, wallpaper and downloads. Videos are included as part of the search as well as images that apply.
  • Bing shows the Wikipedia searches inline when you click the "Enhanced view" link.
  • The front page has a different background image everyday (similar to Google's logo being changed for special occasions) and each image has hot spots with more information. But this doesn't interfere with load time.
  • Video results shown in Bing can be played without leaving the search engine.
On the other hand, some of Google's features are missing, Bing doesn't recognize misspellings that Google often identifies with "Did you mean . . . " consequently, Bing returns no results in these cases.

Although Bing has many similarities to Google, but some people have found its results stronger. Microsoft is planning to spend up to $100 million to make this search engine work. Whether Bing is successful or not, it will keep Google in innovation mode. If they develop their own pay per click venue, this could give Google a run for the money.

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