Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bing Your Family Tree?

Microsoft's new Bing search engine went live June 3rd. Bing is a completely rebuilt search engine to replace Microsoft Live Search. It is visually pleasing, but what really counts are the search results. Here are some of the first things I noticed:

  • Bing has a very attractive interface. Each day features a new photo background with information about the scene revealed by scrolling across the surface. It is beautiful and makes me want to revisit each day to see the new photograph. On some days, you can click on the background for more images; on other days you can click through to video thumbnails.

  • Bing has a very useful sidebar. When you enter a search term, the sidebar displays clickable refined versions of your query down the left side of the page. These refined queries seemed very relevant. This would be helpful for the times you get stuck in your searches.The sidebar also displays a list of your most recent search history. A click on the See All link takes you to a more complete search history. A search history is great to help find sites that you want to revisit.

  • Bing pop ups an excerpt of the text on a search result if you hover over it (towards the right of the result). This is helpful and time-saving if you're not quite sure if you want to follow a result.

  • Bing has a built-in dictionary. If you're looking for a definition or quick summary of a topic, you can use the question what is ? before the search term. For example, search for what is apoplexy and you will get the definition of apoplexy before all of the search results. OK, Google has that, too.

  • Bing appears to be a solid and reliable search engine with a lot of useful functions. The results are very, very good, but different than Google. Which search engine gives the best results?

The only way to tell if you like Bing is to try it. Let me know what you think via the comments.

1 comment:

cheekygnome said...

I tried it yesterday morning with a few genealogy searches and like everything else MS does, I was completely underwhelmed by it.