Review: Bing – Search & decide!

I had heard Steve mention Microsoft’s interest in the search arena, but he hadn’t said too much – not even revealed the name! Soon I heard that Yahoo Search had given way to Bing, and Microsoft was making money from it. Today I spared some time to get my hands on to Microsoft’s newest product, the Bing decision engine to check if claims are true.

Microsoft forced me to use Bing a couple of times with their IE upgrade: once with the older Live Search and now with Bing. Although they provide options to change the provider, I’ve kept Google for Chrome. Microsoft’s search engine has been around since the days when MSN & Yahoo were the only portals and email providers in the world: we’re back in 1998 when I paid Rs.30/hr to read junk mail. But over the years, the search stratergy, research & quality have gone a long way – through MSN, Windows Live & Live search. The video on decisionengine.com is impressive!

I read about certain key features at Wiki and started my own research, comparing it to Google wherever required. I started off with looking for my own website, results were almost parallel – I thought Bing ordered them better for a change (I’ve expereinced otherwise for other searches). I store my images & videos at Google: Picasa & Videos; they’re hardly ever tagged. Don’t know if that was the reason Bing couldn’t find any!

I wanted to explore the clustering with the travel keyword, but Bing didn’t do anything great. It simply showed links to airline and other travel websites rather than showing best fares or deals. I happened to click images that loaded a ton of them. The image options here are far more detailed than Google, but didn’t really seem to work – I’m talking about the Style & People sections below.

My first real search was for my town Goregoan! Nothing great; Google was more relevant.

I hope you are aware that you cannot search ‘sex’ when using Bing in the Indian context; finally, someones abiding laws. However, you it lets sneakers in by changing the country through preferences.

I was curious to know if Bing can answer to spelling mistakes; like Google it does.

The coolest thing around was displaying Wikipedia content within the search pane. Whenever I’m looking for something new, I usually append the word wiki to get the Wikipedia link on top. However, thats done with with Bing.

Sport and Finance are two major areas where Bing is supposed to be intelligent. But I rather count on Google for my stock decisions as its showing me current prices.

Another great feature is the video preview on mouse-hover with smooth fade-in/fade-out. For once I though this was a great cheat to check out YouTube videos at work, only to realize that if offers a preview (thus avoiding any legal hassles with Google)

Now for some theory! The real intentions of this new engine are to help the decision making process for the users by organize search results and showing comparisions from various websites, deals. The process of ogranizing results is termed as clustering which means nothing more than grouping relevant results. Infact, one dude also figured out that Google crawlers were indexing Bing results – that’s only worth a mention.Try clusty to get a real feel of clustering; search for Goregaon or Amitabh Bachan.

The marketing team ran out of budget within 7 days of the ‘Cashback’ launch that allows US citizens to save further from online pruchases using Bing. On the technical side, Bing offers a great API that not only lets developers use Bing for their website, but also manipulate results (filter, sort, order, etc). I’ve begun to see most Microsoft websites using Bing for their internal search; MSDN is one of many. All I’m waiting is for Bing to take over Enterprise Search in MOSS; Steve, any plans?

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