It’s Time to Bing and Decide

Microsoft released its new search engine, Bing.com, earlier this week. I’ve had an email about Bing sitting in my inbox since early Monday morning. It was from a colleague suggesting I check it out. I left it sitting in my inbox because it sounded interesting, but I didn’t check it out right away because I couldn’t get over the gnawing feeling that this was “just another attempted Google killer”.

Then I saw the first television advertisement. Not on TV, but in a newsletter I subscribe to. The comments reviewing the ad spot were so bad, I felt compelled to check out the site. And I’m pleasantly surprised I did.

The home page of the live search engine was an image of vast mountains. I noticed when I scrolled my cursor over certain spots in the image, there were pop-ups explaining facts about the mountains. I clicked on a few, and learned that “park rangers use dogsleds to patrol this vast wilderness during the winter months” and was also invited to meet a champion dogsledder. I skipped that, and clicked on a few more to see if I could figure out exactly which mountain I was looking at. (I was shocked to find out it’s Denali. My crazy, adventure-loving brother is climbing it right now. Geeze. Good luck!)

Okay, enough with the homepage. It’s a search engine, and I wanted to see just how live search is evolving. So I did what any normal person would do. I typed my name into the search window (come on, you know you do it, too). The results seemed like those I would see on Google or Yahoo!.

So, a Google-killer so far? My answer is, “nah.”

I ventured into the side navigation, choosing to explore images. I found more images of Denali. Clever. It’s almost like I could go to Bing to learn something new every day (horrible comparison, but kind of like a fact-of-the-day desk calendar). I then searched for “bat”. (I don’t know why. I just did.) I was given the option to sort by size, color, layout, style and people. I chose to search for a large, square, black and white illustration of a bat. Here’s one of the results:

Now is it a Google-Killer? I say no, but wow, if I ever need a very specific picture, I know where to go to find one.

The next thing that caught my eye was the travel feature. Now I have to say, this is pretty cool. Basically you can search for flights right in the search engine. And it returns results with price comparisons. (Naturally, I learned that flying out of my local airport is a bit pricey.)

I’m sure there are plenty of other really neat features, but I had to get back to work. So is this a Google killer? The world will have to wait and see, but I can definitely see myself using Bing to search for things like images and flight information.

Have you had a chance to check out Bing? Are there any other neat features I should be aware of? Let me know your thoughts.