Microsoft's Bing search engine has just become publicly available, allowing you to decide whether Microsoft's latest effort has the goods to take on Google. Bing is available at www.bing.com and replaces Live Search.
Microsoft is expected to spend $80 million to $100 million on Bing marketing which would be a nice hedge against Yahoo! because Bing will most likely take market share from Yahoo!.
Whether Bing ultimately succeeds or not, it will push Google to keep innovating search, and the new pay per click competition will ensure that Google doesn't get too greedy.
How is Bing different from Google?
Bing is not dramatically different from Google, but some people have found its results stronger. There are some visible changes:
- Bing shows a preview of the web pages in the search results when you hover your mouse pointer at the right side of the search results.
- Bing displays fewer results if it is certain that it has understood your intent. The search for "Facebook", for example, brings up just one result linking to the site itself.
- Some search results are divided into categories. For example, if you search for the popular musician "Justin Timberlake", you'll get results in the categories news, songs, movies, biography, wallpaper and downloads. In addition, the search results show images, videos and the popularity of the musician.
- Wikipedia searches can be displayed inline in the search results without leaving the Bing site by clicking the "Enhanced view" link.
- Bing features a different background image every day. The image contains special hidden hotspots that lead you to more information (soon advertising?) about the image.
- Despite the background image, Bing's homepage loads very quickly in your web browser because the search box and logo load first. You can turn off the background image.
- Bing's video search lets you watch videos without leaving the search engine.
- Bing offers specific health, shopping and travel search engines, as well as instant answers to travel searches. For instance, the search "Vegas hotels" displays a selection of hotels in Las Vegas, including hotel stars and prices.
- Bing's search history lets you return to your most recent searches of the last two days. This feature can be turned off to protect your privacy.
- Some of Google's features are missing, for example, Bing doesn't seem to recognize misspellings and returns no results in these cases.