Microsoft Bing

We tested a preview release of Microsoft's new search/decision engine, previously called Kumo

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Microsoft Bing

Pros

  • Explorer Pane can be extremely useful, updated layout and look of video search, Farecast

Cons

  • We didn't like the Quick Preview feature

Bottom Line

Will the masses start binging instead of googling? If Microsoft continues to make progress with its ongoing tweaks and improvements to Bing — and steamrolls the existing landscape with its promised massive advertising campaign — it stands a chance of converting more than an impressionable few.

Would you buy this?

Bing: Search Results Now Categorised

Bing distributes its search results into various search categories. For example, Bing divided the results of my search for "Saturn Vue" into the categories 'MSN Autos', 'general search results', 'problems', 'images', 'parts', 'repair', and 'specs'.

Our Take: Although a logical breakdown of categories within search results can be convenient, it does lead to a lot of scrolling down.

We're not sure that we want to scroll — and scroll some more — to find what we're looking for. Furthermore, categorised search seems a bit redundant when you have the handy Explorer Pane to help you focus your search results by categories.

Bing: Instant Results

Bing joins Yahoo in declaring war against the "ten blue links" approach to reporting search results — Google's method of displaying lists of websites that might be what you're looking for.

Bing takes a two-pronged approach to fight "blue link" fatigue. First, its Quick Preview feature gives you a text-based synopsis of the pages displayed in your search results. We dragged our mouse cursor over individual search results for "Babe Ruth," and up popped a box of data pulled from the site.

Bing also peppers search results with what Microsoft calls Instant Answers. As the name implies, Instant Answers serve up answers to questions such as currency conversion, weather forecasts, and movie times.

Our Take: We didn't like the Quick Preview feature because we found that it took too long for boxes to pop up with text.

Sometimes, a Hover box would appear without text. In many cases when text did appear, it didn't give a strong enough clue as to whether the site was worth visiting. Given its shortcomings, this Bing feature may be the first to get axed by Microsoft.

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