On June 3, 2009 Microsoft officially unveiled its latest incarnation of the search engine: Bing! Yes, Bing, as in cherry, as in Crosby as in BING! I found it! Bing is not so much a search engine as it is a “decision engine”. Bing is what Google was 10 years ago, fresh, innovative, and (dare I say it) cool. But how does it stack up to the behemoth of the search engine world? Pretty well actually, and with this Tech Tip I’ll give you FIVE reasons why Bing outshines Google!
ONE - It’s all about the results baby!
Face it, why do more people today use Google than any other search engine out there? In a word, results – pertinent results to what you’re looking for. However, sometimes to get the results you want, you have to wade through a lot of chaff. It's analogous to dumping a waste can of papers onto the floor and searching for one tiny scrap. With Bing, you get “enhanced results” – what I mean by that is that you get intelligently organized results quickly and efficiently. With many of the search results, you can hover over the right-hand side and get a pop-up window with more information on that particular result. However, along with these results you also will find that you have a plethora of refinement tools to drill down to exactly what you’re looking for. These refinement tools brings us to reason Two.
TWO – The silver platter – that cool left-hand navigation pane
Under the heading of “how could something so simple and elegant be so powerful,” you can now add Bing’s left-hand navigation pane. This pane saves you so many steps in searches that in a short time you’ll wonder how you lived without it. With it, you get your search results categorized, possible related searches, a “reference” pulled from Wikipedia (if one exists), a quick link to images and videos as well your search history - all in one convenient package. Speaking of images and videos, let’s take a look at reasons Three and Four.
THREE and FOUR – Images and Videos done right
Every search engine can search images and videos, and they can mostly come up with what you want – but many times the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. With Bing you get image and video results on steroids. For instance, with the image results it is actually possible to just continually scroll down (instead of hitting next, next, next), and the next set of images are dynamically loaded (they call this the “infinite scroll” feature). Also, with the image results you get some really cool filters (in that nifty left-hand navigation pane) that filter not just by size, but by layout, color, type and “people” (very cool). Hover over an image, and you can also get an option to “show similar images.”
The videos are cool in that if you hover over the video, it starts playing a snippet of it right in the search result box (some have complained about this, but the content filter is set to “moderate safe” by default – turn it off and you see that same kind of “results” you’d see on any other video search engine (just without the auto-playing snippet part)). The videos too have easy to use filters in the left-hand navigation pane such as length, screen size, resolution and source just as the images have. Click on a video and a larger version of it pops to the top of the results page giving you the option to watch it right there, or go to the actual website. It is actually this and other little things that really make Bing shine. Speaking of little things, this brings us to reason Five.
FIVE – The little things
There are so many little cool things that come along with Bing that it is hard to know where to start. From “instant answers” where you can literally type in “traffic” and get your local traffic, to its Local Search (which runs circles around other local search features I’ve seen on other search engines), you'll be amazed at the usefulness of the Local Search features where you can not only find what you’re looking for, but can get one-click directions and a bird's eye view. It seems the folks at Microsoft sat down and decided to do the search engine right – or rather decided to bring the search engine, rather, decision engine into the 21st century. All this and I haven’t even touched on the travel or shopping features of Bing. For more information, I’d really recommend checking out Bing’s product guide at http://www.discoverbing.com/.
Really, the more you play around with Bing, the more you’ll love it. Now, I know that some of you are thinking that Google fulfills all your search needs and that “Bing is just there to be there” so why bother checking it out. To this I say, “give it a try” (or as Microsoft would say, “Bing and decide”), and you too will find out why Microsoft’s Bing will outshine Google.