Bing.com has begun, now live and publicly available

Everybody has been talking about Microsoft's Live Search overhaul, named Bing, recently, and whether or not it would stand out in the search engine market. We here at Neowin have published an article, checking out all the different factors that would potentially lead to success. It's all well and good to talk about it and weigh it up, but the only way to really find out is by using it... something which is now possible.

Bing.com is now available for everybody to use, as a public beta, with no sign-ups for invitations needed. TechCrunch has already tried it out for themselves, and has posted a list of things to try:

* An ambiguous Web search: "turkey" (do you want images, recipes, facts, or a map of the country? The topic guides in the left explore pane will help you narrow your search).
* A travel search: "SFO to JFK"
* Video search: "Simpsons" (hover over the thumbnail to play the video)
* Image search: "Rollercoasters" (notice the infinite scroll).
* A health search: "Sore throat"
* Shopping: "Digital SLR" (sort by price or brand, get average ratings and CashBack).
* Maps: "BBQ" (automatically knows what city you are in and offers up geo-appropriate results).
* News Search: "Bing" (what else?)

Of course, if rollercoasters and shopping aren't exactly your thing, you can always use Bing for more entertaining purposes. Additionally, for the Firefox users out there, you can pick up a Bing add-on from Long Zheng, for handy searching.

Be sure to go now and try it out, and report back here with your findings.

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101 Comments

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What I'd like to know is if the regionalized versions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc) will get the full Bing experience (a-la United States locale) or if we're only going to get what is essentially a small upgrade and a facelift to Live Search.

Just live.com under another brand.

Shopping search still far behind of Yandex Market.

The interface is too heavy.

They have brought ajax into image searching results like Yandex, the only better thing is that it's full screen, instead of Yandex' one-row concept. But Yandex has grouping - kind of reverse searching, allowing to see all sources for the image sorted by resolution. In Bing's results I see tones of same images.

Still no reverse image searching from MS.

Maps turns to be a joke for a long time. They have no maps, but random bunch of fake streets. Imagery is very bad in quality, far worse than Google. They oftenly use same imagery from DigitalGlobe, but MS postprocessing standards are very bad.
http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&...scl=1&encType=1
http://maps.google.ru/maps?hl=ru&ie=UT...024097&z=16
http://maps.yandex.ru/?ll=37.615964%2C55.7...17809&l=map

'Related' results are poorly notified. It turns to be a big mess of something i wasn't looking for. Type Hello and most of results you get are related results to Hello Fleet, Hello Schedule etc. They should highlight related results - slightly different background for example.

Results are limited in width. Looks quite narrow on wide screens.

Safe filter is tuned on by default - unacceptable for Europe!

so fast :o

Even the images and vids... yet again the MS servers arnt getting as hammered as they will be as of yet

Shame the US version is VERY diffrent from the Aussie one though

I just gave it a quick whirl to see what it looks like. I like how it offer's related search words on the left side-bar, and it's quite quick on its feet as well. Of course, time will tell in how effective it will really be as I search for more things and how accurate the results are.

I have to admit, I think the name is stupid. But, wow it really just works. I am impressed. Will I drop google for it? Yea. I just might.

Seems to work very well. In fact most of my searches so far have turned up better quality results than Google. However they really might want to consider not showing Youtube comments on the results page. One of my searches turned up a Youtube result and the comment it chose to show was the filthiest thing I have ever read.

I couldn't be more disappointed :(

When this was announced and after that time, nowhere did it say most of these features would be US-only Currently many of them are US-only or just for the US and a few other countries. Most of us are left with something extremely similar to the old Live Search, with only a handful of Bing's features and optimisations.

I'm hoping this is temporary as it does say "Beta" for us and "Preview" for the US customers, but if Bing ends up in its current state where we are, then I will lose all faith in Microsoft as a fair company. Especially when they advertise a product and don't state that it is for certain markets only.

A major disapointment!

I just searched for "Flights to London from Manchester" and while the results weren't useless, they weren't really any different to Google's.

Uhh, travel related searches like ticket prices and so on will be the same more or less for any website you go. All o ftem, google, bing, orbits etc, query the same airline database to get flight info and ticket prices.

GP007 said,
Uhh, travel related searches like ticket prices and so on will be the same more or less for any website you go. All o ftem, google, bing, orbits etc, query the same airline database to get flight info and ticket prices.

Why would I want the results to differ? I don't expect Microsoft to charter flights for me.

How the information is delivered and presented to me is what is important. I was met with a page of results that looked near identical to Google's.

I would expect a 'next generation' search engine to not only read price data, but show me flight paths, times, changes, offer to help me complete my journey (where do I go from Heathrow?) and then give me a list of options. I'd want to collaborate with others; share the information then track what changes people make to them, leave notes so we can plan our journey together.

All Bing seems to give is a list of results with a couple of suggested searches on a nice background. Is this impressive? Not really. Will it beat Google? Not at all.

If you guys want to see the real power, sign into your Windows Live account and search for digital cameras. The left hand sidebar becomes content specific, allowing quick searching and comparing by brands, price, and features.

I tried the US version and Indian Version, both are different in preferences. In the indian version I tried it didn't have the save search option. The US version is nice and colour full. It is nice to change the pages to different page.Bing looks good so far. I did the video search and was impressed. I used Live Search previously, and use it once in a while, I feel that Bing has improved than Live Search. The only thing is that when a the user navigates to another page in the search result, the page kinds of blurs till another pages loads, this can be avoided. So far so good. I liked way a small preview of the page contents/site snippet on the right side. Hope they continue to improve their search.

It looks like the only way they could make windows live search better is to make it more like Google. This says alot for google and very little for bing.

I like Bing so far... Not crazy about the name, but it seems to be pretty handy. The ability to search multiple search types from one lookup is nice. I tend to bounce around from Google to Google Images, to Google Maps, etc. This will cut down on some of that for me. The results look to be pretty good as well.

So far I'm happy with it.

Are you saying Bing is miles behind Google at present? If so, I think you are wrong and Bing is much more advanced with its array of features. Why do you think this, if so?

I love it when someone makes a post like that with nothing at all to support their claim. Why is it miles behind Google, please enlighten us. I've found it to be every bit as good and in many ways better so I'd love to hear your reasoning. Of course, you probably don't have any.

I love the fact you can hover a vid and watch it, or preview it. perhaps google should do an update. I have it set as my homepage at the moment. big ++ to ms for this.

yes international versions of it don't have the menu down the side, it's still above the search input box :(

well they were saying wednesday so i'm hoping it will be fully working by then!

WTF? The international versions of it doesn't do anything special at all. It just displays search listings, nothing unique to it at all. And those searches are well known to be less accurate than those of certain competitors to boot. Haha. I was afraid it would fail for everyone outside the US, but not on this scale. Oh boy.

I wonder if it will EVER catch up internationally. That seemed to be the Achilles' heel for a service like this. To pile on to that, MS also has a poor track record of international support; just compare Live Maps and Google Maps, for example.

Edit: Haha, you can't even set it to force doing "US-style" searches. So you aren't allowed to check out reviews for various products. Fortunately, there is Google Product Search for this.

They're rolling it out slow, nothing goes fully global on the internet in one day anyways.

I guess people forget that what made google gain ground over yahoo back in the day was it's speed more than it's accuracy. If by the end of the week other countries have all those features I don't see what the problem is.

That's certainly why I started using Google. I had been using AltaVista which worked well for the time, until they hopped on the "Web Portal" bandwagon. The annoying fad where all the search engines tried to put everything and the kitchen sink on their home pages, making a huge, ugly and slow loading mess.

Google came along, and went the bare minimum route. A nice clean page with nothing but a search box, period. Of course as time went on they came to also give the best results but their practices have become questionable after they became a virtual web search monopoly. I hope Bing does well, it's about time Google had some real competition.

It correctly detects my location (Portugal) and then do nothing (no fligts, no news, no calculations). A lot of work to be done before it even can aspire to be taken serious (imho).

Is there a way to set the US version to default outside the USA , because it gives only web and images without any suggestions here in Hungary : /

That has always been the problem with MS products on the web, compared to Google: they are great if you live in the US, while Google just works the same anywhere.

Origamihl said,
Is there a way to set the US version to default outside the USA , because it gives only web and images without any suggestions here in Hungary : /

If you want to try the US version without having to log in, then use this URL: http://www.bing.com/?mkt=en-us

I just wish MS would for once be smart enough to tell me the answer to something like '400MB / 40KBps'. One of the things I love about Google is the fact that it can do such calculations. While I do like what Bing is currently offering, this is one of the few things that would prevent me from using it full time.

xiphi said,
I just wish MS would for once be smart enough to tell me the answer to something like '400MB / 40KBps'. One of the things I love about Google is the fact that it can do such calculations. While I do like what Bing is currently offering, this is one of the few things that would prevent me from using it full time.

It does calculations, just not that one. I tried "600 miles in kilometers" last night and it works fine.

GreyWolfSC said,
It does calculations, just not that one. I tried "600 miles in kilometers" last night and it works fine.

I tried and it doesn't work.

brent:
Using the bing.com.au website you MUST spell 'kilometres' like I just spelt it.

However, on the US bing.com website you MUST spell 'kilometers'.

That's why it didn't work for you.

Google doesn't mind which spelling I use. +1 Google

Sorry for my ignorance, but can someone tell me what is radical new? What is better than others?
The only thing I found is this hoover popup on the right side, but more? What improve MY search?

I'm using it from the UK and I'm not overly impressed.

    The home picture is too beige, you think they would have had something more impressive on the launch day
    The shopping link goes to a different web site (ciao)
    The Maps search takes you to MultiMap (Microsoft owned but it still takes you away from bing)
    There is no "Search Provider" highlight to add it to IE and reults don't make the IE RSS indicator glow.
    The results are still not as accurate as Google's.
    There is no local search.

Good points are the video search and the web slice funtionality on the news search (although it still is branded as kumo!). The image search is also improved but I always thought that was good anyway.

Maybe it's cuz you're in the UK? Maps didn't take me away from bing, and I even got virtual earth going without leaving bing as well.

The search link for IE and other stuff will be turned on when MS takes it out of "beta". This is still just a preview and not final you know.

The major failure to me is the complete lack of international support in any of its features that was supposed to make it unique. That it was going to be worse than Google in terms of accuracy was expected, but I really didn't expect a total failure as for its unique features in the international versions.

What statements have Microsoft made regarding this? Plans for international support?

ThomMcK said,
There is no "Search Provider" highlight to add it to IE and reults don't make the IE RSS indicator glow.

There is: http://www.bing.com/?FORM=ZZFD2#

Find it on the homepage ''Make Bing your homepage" - In FF, it adds bing to the list of search engines in the search box drop down menu and asks you if you want to make it 'Default'.

So far not impressed. The searching ability still isn't as good as Google's, no matter how "innovative" Microsoft claims it to be. The logo is ugly and dead-looking, whereas Google's logo is livelier and more memorable. The design is pretty ugly and inconsistent, with different-colored links all over the place. It's a slightly prettier (but still ugly) version of Live Search. I honestly don't see what all the hype was about.

Yep, search is all about the logo.

Maybe the hype is about more than just the pretty logo. Try searching and then draw up some conclusions.

Hmm... seems to be a Google clone to me. Also there is probably a bit of overuse in the JavaScript department. Other than that I am impressed at Microsoft for trying to clean up their act. Now if they will just rename and improve all the other live services... It seems to me Microsoft is looking for a fresh start with Windows 7, even though technically it isn't. Bing is just an improved Live Search and Windows 7 an improved Windows Vista. But at least they are trying.

I am using the RC x64 as I type this and I love it finally I an upgrade from XP.

Database fail, unfortunately.

For example, search Images for Charlize Theron and select Wallpaper and Photograph. Now, do the same with Google's Image search (same options, Extra Large, Photograph)

Google returns 5,000 results and those start to go wild after about 400 results. And note how the biggest images (3000+ pixels) are at least on the first pages.

Bing only returns 43 (HD res only!) images, and 1/2 of those aren't even of Charlize Theron. In fact, the last one is an Obama logo...ahem.

Yep. You have to select - Large. Otherwise it searches exactly for you Desktop size. I've got also 18 pictures for my 1440x900. Large - 47000

Wait, how can you pick wallpaper and large for size? You can only have one or the other. Doing the same search, Large size + photograph and I get 6,880 hits.

Just refreshed the search a and now I get 19,000 images, I suppose you should let the DB work it's magic a bit, it's still the start. Google didn't get to where it is overnight you know.

But "large" is only 700+ pixels wide...utterly useless for ANY purpose someone would want larger images for...

And MY desktop is 5000+, so Bing isn't searching on that size, haha.

GP007 said,
Just refreshed the search a and now I get 19,000 images, I suppose you should let the DB work it's magic a bit, it's still the start. Google didn't get to where it is overnight you know.

Fair enough. Note that the vast majority of results on any of these pages are corporate/large site generated as well. Weak sauce.

excalpius said,
Google returns 5,000 results and those start to go wild after about 400 results. And note how the biggest images (3000+ pixels) are at least on the first pages.

Bing only returns 43 (HD res only!) images, and 1/2 of those aren't even of Charlize Theron. In fact, the last one is an Obama logo...ahem.


I get 2,450 results with Bing.
So far all is well, very fast, very tidy and no hiccups.

Wow, i've been trying it out for a bit and it's fast, and it's found a few things i've tried right away. Nothing too complex. I'm liking it so far.

I did a very simple test which I intended to be the first of many, but the results were so disappointing that I just quit it. I searched for 'metal gear solid 3 metacritic' (without quotation marks). Google's first result for this query is the MGS3 metacritic page. On Bing, that site wasn't on the first page of results. Definitely not a google killer.

GP007 said,
You mean metacritic.com? I just tried it and it's the 2nd link for me first is the wiki for MGS.

Not for me.

1st:Metal Gear Solid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2nd:Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Last one: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (psp: 2006): Reviews
At least thats metacritic.com, but the wrong game.

timmmay said,
Set as my home page...I'll try and use it as much as I can and see how I like it compared to Google :)

Im doing the same

Image Search is no better than Google's, unfortunately.

No way to sort by size. (for example, sort by descending size)
As useless as Google size presets (large vs. wallpaper?! How do I find images LARGER than 1920x1080...ahem)
No way to search by min/max dimensions (re: Image > 3000 width)

I like the sub categories and the ability to search by landscape or portrait aspect, but with no way to prioritize high quality high resolution images over the utterly useless web thumbnail 250 pixel dreck the Internet is saturated with, this doesn't offer any better options for graphic design professionals, or hell, just about anyone who'd like multi-monitor wallpapers of a decent quality. 8P

While some of you may feel I am picking nits here, understand that Google and MS have this information in the database, and what search engines should be doing is making it easier for all of us to mine this data.

And yet, these are SIMPLE programming additions, and no one is doing them...

At least the wallpaper setting is a large enough resolution to be useful. However it only returns images with the EXACT pixel size, not images of about that size or larger.

That REALLY is going to cut down on useful results and wind up returning commercial wallpaper site libraries. Which, as a matter of fact, I can find all by myself. What I WANT is the search engine to find things I CAN'T find...

excalpius said,
At least the wallpaper setting is a large enough resolution to be useful. However it only returns images with the EXACT pixel size, not images of about that size or larger.

That REALLY is going to cut down on useful results and wind up returning commercial wallpaper site libraries. Which, as a matter of fact, I can find all by myself. What I WANT is the search engine to find things I CAN'T find...

Huh? Type a word, click "images" and expand the SIZES on the left. It has small, medium, large, wallpaper. Google has small, medium, large, and extra large. I don't see any "exact size" anywhere.

GreyWolfSC said,
Huh? Type a word, click "images" and expand the SIZES on the left. It has small, medium, large, wallpaper. Google has small, medium, large, and extra large. I don't see any "exact size" anywhere.

Try the Wallpaper setting. You'll see it ONLY returns 1920 wide images.

The other sizes are irrelevant. For example, in what world does anyone want only "small" or "medium" no better than thumbnail sized images? Or why would anyone define images of around 700 pixels "large"? Honestly? 8P

Well at least there is NO advertising or other crap on the main page

thats a definite improvement from the old microsoft search pages where they wanted to foist all sorts of crap on the main search page!

I see they've even stolen google's "beta" tag - LOL

@C_Guy -

I'm sure dvb2000 was referring to the fact that Google slap beta on many products and seem to leave it there forever. Look at Gmail for an example...

dvb2000 said,
Well at least there is NO advertising or other crap on the main page

thats a definite improvement from the old microsoft search pages where they wanted to foist all sorts of crap on the main search page!

I see they've even stolen google's "beta" tag - LOL


Where' the word Beta anywhere on the Bing.com page?
I only see "Preview".