Microsoft have completely re-written Live Search, the new offering Bing!
Bing is being marketed as a ‘decision engine’ as it tries to workout what you are looking for rather always giving the top ranking website out of an algorithm.
Microsoft has commissioned allot of research to work out what people are actually trying to do for when they use a search engine. It is clear Microsoft cannot ‘out search’ Google but could gain market share by finding an edge and that edge is adding more depth.
Achieving this new depth comes from adding features that make the whole experience of searching easier, more pleasant and most importantly, less time consuming.
A good example is the UPS demo in this Channel 9 video where typing UPS will make a ‘tracking document’ box appear on the Bing search page for the simple reason is that 90% of visitors to the UPS website want to discover where their document or parcel is! However this feature as yet doesn’t work outside of the US infact I haven’t found this feature working on any UK searches even the most obvious ones like post-code search. I hope they are in the pipeline but I have to remember that Bing is still in Beta.
I’m not going to really draw many majors conclusion on the first day of it’s launch so I’m going to use it for a week as my default search and then see.
However a nice feature I like very much is the website summary. Just hovering at right of and entry will make a small circle appear, placing the mouse over the circle will make the website summary appear so I can decide whether I want to click the link and visit the site.
This is one of those features that has appeared because research concluded that the most used frequently used browser feature, when performing any search is the Back button .
Another nice feature that I liked very much is the daily hi-res background image. The image doesn’t noticeably add to the loading time of the site and makes the site more attractive to use.
So lets get to the point, why bother? To me, it seems like the search market is ripe for Microsoft's new offering and strategy. Google has gotten big and fat, it's branching into areas away from core search, and it's facing possible antitrust investigations by the US government. And why change things? Google is number 1.
Certainly Microsoft won't be toppling Google any time soon, but there's plenty of market-share to go after—and plenty of room for improvement on Microsoft's part.
For us the consumer we need a decent competitor to Google as it’s not healthy to have a monopoly on search one organisation controlling what sites we can find.
Anyway, I will report back in a week and tell you if I’m still using Bing and what more I’ve discovered.