Posted: June 3rd, 2009
The full deployment of Microsoft’s new search… I mean, decision engine called “Bing” is to be completed today via Bing.com. While Microsoft’s Live Search never really caught on due to poor marketing and, more significantly, poor search results, the company hopes to gain market share with the rebranded and reworked Bing search engine. Live.com’s HTTP headers now show a 301 permanent redirect to Bing.com.
The first thing you may notice is an overall rebranding of the search engine’s elements. For example, its travel vertical has gone from “Farecast” to “Bing Travel.” But apart from a makeover, an easier name to remember, and some renaming of its sections, does Bing actually provide a better search experience? Surprisingly, yes.
To illustrate this, we will summon the almighty power of Miley Cyrus. Using the search query “miley cyrus” produces the following result in Bing (click to enlarge).
Along the left-hand side you will notice that Bing understands the nature of the search, and offers related suggestions for fine-tuning your query and helping you find whatever it is you’re interested in.
The main search area is where Bing really starts to shine. Universal (federated) search results appear with pictures, video, etc. This is not something new, and both of Bing’s competitors (Google and Yahoo) have blended search listings too. However, Bing’s organized layout and navigation of these results are superior in my opinion. The proximity of the News, Images, Videos, and Biography links in Bing is far more effective than how Google places them at the very top of its SERPs.
And the most impressive aspect of Bing, is the pop-up system that appears upon hovering each listing. This would be the box on the far right in the screenshot above. These popups display more snippets and links from the page, giving you a better idea of what’s on the other side of a potential click-through. The content in the popups also loads remarkably fast.