Getting to know Search Engines – Bing

Continuing with my exploration of and education in search engines.

Bing is Microsoft’s replacement for LiveSearch. It was launched in June 2009 and is still in Beta (which means they’ve released it to the public but are still testing it).

The homepage is nice and clean (no advertising or boxes full of sponsored links). There is a background feature photo (today of rice fields in Bali) containing relevant hot links to video and promotional information. (You can see in the photo above a box that appeared when I scrolled over one of the links).

As I started a  search with my keywords (global warming) their ‘search suggestions’ feature fired up and offered me:

  • global warming
  • global dimming
  • globalization
  • global tv

and many more. This feature can be turned off by clicking a link at the bottom of the box. I find this feature very useful for students who are not good at spelling. They can concentrate on the search and not be embarrassed or sidetracked.

Once I hit enter,  the search offered me 13,900,000 results with sponsored sites (clearly marked) at the top. I know more hits is not better so I was more interested to see that the most relevant sites pulled up did not differ at all from the ones pulled up by Yahoo!7 except in order (but not by much).

One of its best features you won’t see until you scroll you mouse over the text for a result. It’s then that a little orange dot appears on the right-hand side, scroll your mouse to it and a preview of the page pops up. You’ll get the first few sentences on the web page and perhaps some details of what else is on the opening page (if there are portals or links) — you can see the little box below on the right.

Related search terms are listed in the left sidebar and are helpful for students not quite sure of the best search terms.  Like Google, if you click on the little hyperlink “cached page” the page will come up with your search keywords color-coded and highlighted throughout the text – useful for very long documents.

One feature on this search engine that could turn out to be a real time-waster for students is a search option called “xRank” trademarked by Bing.  Here’s Bing’s blurb on what it is:

xRank keeps track of notable people and puts them in order for you. We count Bing web searches for movie stars, musicians, and other famous people. Then, we compile our findings into an insightful ranking formula that tells you who the world is searching for most. The result is a cultural snapshot of who’s hot and who’s not!

This search option will also allow you to create graphs that compare the popularity of two celebrities over the last six months. Hmm, useful? I guess if you were involved in the paparazzi this could help.

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