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.