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Monday, June 1, 2009

Microsoft’s New Try At Search Is Live

You might have heard the news of search engine Bing – Microsoft’s rebranding effort after Live failed to take over the search crown from Google – going live. Expectedly, the web search results are often copying Google’s style but are of [edit]somewhat lower quality on a couple of queries I tried (but please add your comments in regards to search results quality)[/edit]. One interesting feature however is the video search, because it offers direct animated previews as soon as you hover over a given video thumbnail; combine this with the site operator, as in the search*, and you can get a good, uncluttered overview of videos shown or embedded on a given domain. The same search on Google Video returns... zero.

The image search of Bing – a word meaning “cold [mp3]” (as in fridge [mp3]) as well as “sick” in Chinese, among other meanings depending on the tones** – offers one noteworthy difference in comparison to Google Image Search. When you click on an image from the result thumbnail list, you’ll land on the target page with the image on top as with Google. But on the left side, you can also see other thumbs from the result page you were on before, so you can quickly click through the rest of the images. However, on the downside, you can’t use shift-click on a thumb to open a page in a new instance... this greatly lowers usability for people who like to control their browser windows or tabs.

A nice thing about Bing is that they automatically insert in-page anchor links below some snippets. A search for scientology wikipedia, for instance, has links like “Etymology”, “History”, “Organization” and more pointing straight to that part within the page. (There’s also an “enhanced view" for Wikipedia pages, which basically reprints the – GNU-licensed – wiki entry and adds an always-visible navigation box to the right.)

Just as with Google these days, Bing also has auto-completion. This picture was posted on Reddit under the headline “Seems like is indexing a different [Internet] than Google”.

*I’m not sure if the “site” operator is actually supported as that; while I did get different results when searching for vs just, there may be other factors in play here.

**Do a Pinyin Look-up for “bing” to find more meanings.

[Thanks WebSonic! Audio by Yinxue.]


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