Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bing

There is a third search engine out there that claims to be a "decision engine," meaning it tries to interpret your searches and help you decide what results will help you the most. This newcomer to the searching scene is called Bing.


Bing is a Microsoft product, built expressly to rival Google. It started in June 2009 and since then has gained a fair share of Internet searches, generally making it one of the top three. (On a side note, Microsoft and Yahoo have entered an agreement where Bing will eventually power the Yahoo search engine, a move which both companies hope will allow them to overtake Google.)

Let's take a look at Bing. At first glance it seems to offer some of the same types of searches as Google and Yahoo, like News, Maps, and Shopping. It certainly has a cleaner interface than Yahoo but not as stark as Google's white page. Bing has a revolving image gallery, and if you hold your mouse over the picture, you might see some boxes pop up. Mouse over one of them for a tidbit of information and click on it to get the whole story.

From the list on the left, click "More" to see what else Bing has to offer.

Let's try a search. To compare it with Yahoo from the previous post, type in your hometown. You'll see a list of results down the middle of the page, but on the left you'll see them organized by topic. If you wanted the newspaper for your town or the names of some restaurants, click the link on the left and Bing will redo the search. You can also look for images, maps may show up in your results, and news articles may also appear. (Maps and news articles may also show up in Google's search results.)

Let's try a different kind of search. Type travel itinerary for new zealand. What kind of results do you get? Notice that Bing also has sponsored sites. In this case, you might take a look at them as you are probably looking for a travel company to help you plan your trip. Also look through the rest of the results, though, because you might find an absolute gem of a smaller company that didn't pay to have its website show up at the top of the list.

Explore Bing the next time you need to find something on the Internet. How does it compare to Yahoo or Google? If you need assistance using the site, click "Help" at the bottom of any screen.

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