Bing – don’t bother! has launched and I just cannot believe that Microsoft have made so much fuss over something that is no better than the existing The UK version is labelled as beta and the US one as “Preview” so is there more coming soon as is suggested by Microsoft/Bing in their blogs? I sincerely hope so because so far this “decision engine” does not live up to the hype.

Phil Bradley has already reviewed Bing and I agree entirely with everything he has said.  The home page is reminiscent of the old Ask home page that allowed you to “skin” the page with an image. I like the snow leopard that is on the UK version but if I should get bored with it, I can’t change it.

My test web searches came up with results that were mostly identical with those from For some of them, for example my search on car ownership UK, Bing puts a fact or a statistic at the top of the page. In this case it came up with 510 cars per 1000 people, a statistic apparently from the International Road Federation but 2004 data! The Advanced Search is as pathetic as ever, but you can use search commands such as ‘filetype: ‘ and ‘site:’ in the standard search box.

The image search is virtually the same as Live’s with minor changes to the layout.  The Shopping option takes UK users to (very confusing), News is as useless as before, and Maps takes you to Multimap. Much more interesting is the Google-type maps option at or but you cannot find that by following the menu options. You have to know and enter the URL directly into your browser.

At present, all Microsoft seem to have done is put a slightly different interface on top of Live and given it a different domain name, an impression further reinforced by the help files still being on I will continue to use as one of my favourite alternative search engines: it does sometimes come up with unique content and I like the image search. Bing has nothing that is significantly new or innovative. As Phil Bradley says, what a wasted opportunity. Google can rest easy.

11 thoughts on “Bing – don’t bother!”

  1. Hi Phil,

    Ciao rings a bell in the back of my mind, but whether it is an alarm bell or a celebration bell I’m not sure.

    I see that now redirects to Bing but the help files are still on Live!

  2. Hi Karen.

    Bing is intresting, not least because it’s odd for Microsoft to push something out so quickly. Rather like the did with Live they tend to have another domain where people can test it out first. I think what you’ve encountered with the UK version is the fact it’s not done for the UK yet.

    They don’t actually mention that the sites they are redirecting are only a temp thing! If you visit then search for a product, say an iPod then click shopping again you will get the Bing style.

    I love new search engines coming to the market. It always give me a buzz to try and push forward, and I don’t think that could be a bad thing?

  3. As a side note on Ciao, Microsoft brought the company in late 08, since then they have been not really doing much with it. I suspect the UK and other versions of Bing will intergrate the software then Ciao will likely dissapear! The whole thing seems messy to me! I’m unsure it will catch on unless it’s all brought together!

  4. Hi Daniel,

    I wondered where I had heard Ciao mentioned. That’s cleared up one mystery. I had a look at the US version of Bing and was equally unimpresssed – perhaps it is just that my type of searches don’t bring out the best in Bing 🙂 I’ve seen people raving about the general search results and the way that one can continuously scroll the image results, but these were the same in! If nothing else, all this media hype has encouraged people to try out Microsoft’s search engine, which for some of my research type queries sometimes comes up with unique and better results than Google.


  5. Hi Again!

    Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying the US version is any better, just that it seems odd to link to another brand name, confusing the users. Honestly I am actually quite confused to as what is new with Bing. Live had shopping, the same image format etc. My honest guess would be that people have not tried Live and now just getting round to tying this ‘new’ engine, with no baises to see what is new and what is old.


  6. Agree entirely, Daniel. At least people are now taking a look at it and some are liking it. Now I’ve got to update my advanced search slides! Still, the basics are the same – it’s just branding and different screen shots.


  7. Bing has some interesting features that Google doesn’t (yet) have – and there are some differences in the search algorithm from what i’ve seen. Some could be useful – some less so.

    One difference i noticed is that URLs with the search terms used seem to come higher than other sites – so, for example, AWARE’s web-site came to the top for a search on “marketing-intelligence”. Also relevant is that the algorithm is sufficiently intelligent to realise that is a likely candidate for searches on Competitor Analysis. I’m not sure the same exists in Google.

    Another odd feature is that some titles seem to be edited. For example some searches on my web-site content bring up the following title: Read an Article On Competitor Analysis On the Aware Website. This title doesn’t exist on my web-site and has been taken from the link heading on the government’s BusinessLink web-site.

    There are some interesting field-codes for advanced searching on Bing that i’m not familiar with on Google – that could prove useful. In particular contains: for looking for sites holding particular types of content (e.g. MP3 files) but other interesting options include those for finding RSS feeds (hasfeed: and feed:) as well as the loc: term for location searching. (Not tried it on towns yet so i don’t know how accurate it is).

    What i don’t like is that the number of hits you can get if you change the preferences is only 50 – unlike Google’s 100. Why limit it to 50 – it can’t be a fear that it takes too long to display 100 values, or can it?

  8. Hi Arthur,
    The field codes or commands that you mention were available in, which is one reason why I recommended Live as a one of my top three search engines in my Advanced Search workshops. I particularly like the feed command. I notice that Bing has not reinstated the the link: or linkdomain: commands.

    As you say, the search and ranking algorithms do seem to be different though; unfortunately we can no longer compare and contrast as now redirects to Bing! You give an interesting example, and Phil Bradley has also spotted some oddities. It appears that Bing could be censoring results for the UK. See his blog posting Bing excluding results form UK version? at

    On the display number of hits display, I don’t believe that it is about the time it takes to display a 100. The image results list is a continuous scroll: you just keep scrolling down and down and down and down until your reach the end of the list, although I suspect that there must be an upper limit on this. And that displays quickly enough. I still use Google for many of my searches because I use Firefox with the CustomizeGoogle add-on. That can be set up to stream search results so that you just keep scrolling down through the results beyond the usual maximum of 100.

    It will be interesting to see if the promised developments take place, or if Bing is just left to fester as Live was. Microsoft have come up with some really good services in the past for example Academic Live and Live Books. Both were worthy competitors to Google’s offerings and far superior but Microsoft axed them. Not a good track record.

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