Have You Binged Yet?

It has been a week - have you Binged yet? Microsoft's new search engine Bing just popped into my field of view a few days after it went live June 3. If you went to Microsoft's live.com site, you were redirected to Bing. There were over 1500 stories written about Bing the day after the announcement. They have also released a mobile version since then.

The page looks bright with a changing background photo, so it is not like the vanilla Google page. If you don't have Microsoft SilverLight installed, you might get a message to install it - without it some features on Bing won't work.

Bing. Odd choice for a search name. My first thoughts were the social networking platform Ning, the screen capture tool Jing, the Bada Bing Club from The Sopranos, nerdy Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day (good film) who likes to say 'Bing and bing again!' or Chandler Bing on TV's Friends or columnist Stanley Bing. TRIVIA: The working codename at Microsoft for Bing was Kumo which came from the Japanese word for spider as well as cloud. At least those have some references to search engine "spiders" and cloud computing.

Microsoft calls Bing a "decision engine." I did a search on that term (using Google) and found decisionengine.com. Guess what that site is all about? Bing! It's a promo site by Microsoft. Good planning on their part. The idea is that Bing will give you not just a pile of results, but will make some decisions for you about the results. I didn't find that to be obviously the case. I typed the string "airline ticket Newark Miami" into Bing and Google and I can't say that one was more helpful than the other. Paid results on top, ads on the side, a pile of possible links below. I still needed to make a decision on what to click.

There are actually a number of sites that dig into search - like searchengineland.com - so I'm not interested here in the technical side of Bing or whether or not it has overtaken Yahoo or can beat Google.

Some features I noticed:
- search suggestions as you type
- related searches ("Explorer pane") on the left side with your search history (You can clear it or turn it off too.)
- not obvious, but it uses semantic technology to make some decisions (supposedly from PowerSet which Microsoft purchased in 2008)
- You can save and share search histories if you also use Windows Live SkyDrive, Facebook, or with email.

Is Bing different enough to make me switch from Google the way Google got me me to leave behind Yahoo? Not yet. Let's see if people start to say that they "binged" something the way we say I "googled" it.


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