Online Innovation August 26th, 2009
So far I have been fairly impressed with Bing. Results are fairly relevant and in particular, i like all the new features added. It seems Microsoft is pushing the envelope a little and becoming quite innovative.
The goal of this blog is to focus on some of these new features of Bing that you may or may not be aware of.
On initial arrival to Bing the most noticeable difference is the large image front and centre, which changes daily. While I think this is a great visual appeal and definitely unique, it provides for some mystery meat navigation. In fact most people may not even notice that if you move your mouse around the image, a highlighted box is becomes visible with interesting stats of the photo. In addition, it would be beneficial to place a visual heading that titles the image. But instead have to hover over the Registered Trademark R to get this information.
Hover your mouse over the photo to reveal 4 interesting points about the image with links to the query.
Bing is touted as the ‘Decision Engine’, whereby you conduct a search and in addition to the regular results down the middle of the page, Bing also provides relevant, similar results to help users filter through the results to help users refine their queries.
One of the new features you will notice beside each listing, when you hover your mouse is an orange dot which reveals more information about that link, usually including links to sub pages, similar to Google’s SiteLinks.
A search for baseball results:
Using the same search query of “baseball results” reveals two other new features, the actual baseball scores of the past two days, as well as related searches of the initial query.
Bing also has a feature called Instant Answers. Need to find out the status of a flight? As mentioned in yesterday’s Google search feature post, Google has this feature already.
How about a quick calculation? Google has this feature too.
In need for a new car? I used Honda for my car of choice. The results page reveals an extended left column navigation called the Explorer Pane with 2 sections. The top one includes sub-section searches based on the initial query and the second area is related searches based on popular searches by visitors. Studies have shown that users often refine their initial search query by adding on new words to the search. Those 2 new features attempt to address this. Try it out using other brand names.
Planning on traveling to another city? Toronto, perhaps? Similar to the Honda search you will find a related search box, plus the sub section query area, where Bing tries to match the initial query with results pertaining to the query. In this case Toronto’ Weather, Map, Hotels, Airport, Real Estate and Images and then breaks them down below in the main results section.
Bing has some additional features similar to Google, such as Search History and Search Suggestions
Bing Images and Videos utilize the left side Explorer Pane as well allowing users to refine their search for images and videos.
Shopping for a gift? Bing makes it easier to find and review products through the search pages. Sort by brand, category and price. Handy links for product features as well as user reviews.
All in all from a user’s perspective I find all these additional features very handy. Is Bing a Google killer? Hardly, but I have no doubt this new search engine revamp by Microsoft will make Google stand up and take notice.
From a Search Marketer’s perspective we live and die by the clicks from each Search Engine. This is evaluated through Analytics and hence are able to define the saturation and market penetration of each Engine. I wonder if all these extra features will result in less click-throughs from Bing? Food for thought as we will continue to evaluate Bing’s progress.
What do you think of searching on Bing?