I Bing’ed it

Hmmm…that doesn’t sound quite as common as “I Google’d it”, but maybe the latest search engine from Microsoft will change this.  So have you tried Bing yet?  If you haven’t then you should, and here is why.

My company works a great deal with search engines such as Autonomy’s IDOL and Microsoft’s FAST so I was excited to see what the new Bing would provide.  Described not as a search engine but as a “decision” engine Bing provides some nice UI enhancements over Google and cleans up the result display so information is more visible.

Enhancements

Result Grouping

Results rather than just being displayed by their “relevance” to the search term(s) entered are now grouped into common categories.  A search for TicketMaster groups results into Customer Service, Jobs, Careers, Coupons, Catalog.  These categories are then listed under the new Bing Logo for easy filtering of results as well as headers dividing the displayed search result list.

This grouping allows users to find the specific “types” of results in a much more efficient manner.

Related Searches

Under the new search results categories is an additional section which provides a nice list of Related Searches.  This is highly important because many times when searching it is a guessing game as to what else to add to the search terms to find that actual results you are looking for.

Search History

This is something Google already supplies, if you have an iGoogle account.  Microsoft has taken this to a new level, while your browser remains open, Bing will remember what searches you have performed.  If you don’t like Bing remembering your search, that’s fine too, just click the Turn Off option.  About to start searching on another topic, clear your old Search History to help keep track of how you are searching.

Along with this feature is also the ability to See All, and we are not just talking about all the search terms you used, we are also talking about what results you clicked on.  So now if you want to find that article you were reading earlier from that search, but you can’t remember the exact terms you used, by using the See All you can find it again.

Results Display

Ok, so we made it down the left most column, yeah all that was in just the left hand column, pretty impressive huh?  Now lets look at the heart of the page, the actual results we got back.

Best Match

Like Google, Bing displays the most likely match at the top of the results list, so as search for Ticketmaster on both sites results in the #1 item as being www.ticketmaster.com.  Both sites also display immediate links under ticket master to things like Music, Sports, Arts & Theater, and both have a “Search Ticketmaster” text box directly from their search results.  However, Bing has a one-up on Google in that it also provides the Customer Service number there in the result summary.  Other Bing search results will provide similar information and “important” phone numbers.

Search Results Display

As mentioned above search results are now displayed not just by their significance in relation to the search term, but they are grouped into the categories that best describe them.  So rather than getting 10, 20, 30 results in a relevance order you will now get about 3 results per category.

Green Dot

Users now mousing over the search results will now notice a Green Dot appear to the right of that result summary.  When they mouse over the result summary they will see a nice summary of what is on the page, and links the page includes.  This will allow users to review the page content without actually looking at the page.  As a developer you will get to see a couple of lines from the page so you can determine what is displayed, more so than when you just look at the result summary.

So, the next time you have to search for something, will you Bing it?

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