Behold. Bing is alive. Bing is Microsoft’s newest search engine (codename Kumo), replacing Live Search (Live.com redirects, and the search box at msn.com is now a Bing box). Microsoft is putting a big $80 million into branding this; probably a reaction to some of their previous branding/rebranding failures. But if this is more of the same, it’s not going to beat Google despite all of the branding. Sure it can raise market share and improve ad revenue, but this needs to be a special search engine targeting a big “type” of searcher.
So is it? Not really.
First off, the results seem about the same as before. I don’t think they did much with the algorithm – if anything. My rankings all stayed the same. I still feel like I’m getting the same mainstream to junk site results ratio (my big complaint about Live were that the results were either really safe, or really useless – very little in the way of fringe, valuable hidden sites). I assume that if this takes off, more time and money will be poured into the algorithm.
I do like the Web Groups. For certain queries, a left navigation is generated with different related categories. These categories also appear in the body of the results. Useful when the engine can’t determine a searcher’s intent. This is their attempt at giving you wider results (and actually giving you more listings per page). Google does this too on occasion, but not this well in my opinion.
I also like other components of the interface. I’m still surprised that Google is still so plain and dull. Bing gives you more color, and uses the search engine result page real estate more efficiently. To the right of each result is a dynamic button (when you hover over a listing). This gives a summary of content by pulling HTML text from the site. I think this is useful once you get used to it. It’s also easy to ignore if you’re not interested.
A lot of the other stuff is very Google like. Same old related searches, same vertical results, and pretty much the same Live image results. Dig in and try it.