Microsoft hasn’t had the best of luck with its search engine really. As far as we can tell, since 2005 its Google competitor has been called MSN Search, Windows Live Search and – most recently – Live Search.

It’s a bit unfair to suggest that the only thing that changed in that time was the name. Microsoft’s developers have been working hard to out-Google Google. But when you’re trying to establish your brand as a serious competitor to the search giant, such naming confusion can’t be anything other than a hindrance.

Now it’s called Bing

Everything changed yet again a few days ago, as Microsoft ditched the Live Search name and unveiled Bing to the world. Yes, Bing.

At first glance it doesn’t look too different to Google. The simple home page has a nice photo that changes daily and there’s an obvious search box and a few other options. So far, so good.

When you run a search, you’ll see a familiar looking list of results. We’ve not played with it much, but we noticed two things immediately:

  • There’s a dot to the right of each result in the list. When you roll your mouse over it, an overlay appears displaying more information from that site. It looks like the idea is to provide more information before you actually click through.
  • Many searches return a list of related search terms on the left of the page. Sure, Google displays these at the bottom of its results, but it’s handy to have them there.

There also seem to be some other nice touches, but sadly lots of these appear to be restricted to the US version of the site. For instance, there’s travel search which can tell you if flight prices are more likely to go up or down.

Will it succeed?

So, putting aside what you think of the name (and please do leave a comment to let us know!), the proof of this search engine will be in the quality of its results.

If Microsoft can persuade people to switch from Google to try it (not an easy task in itself), the only way they’ll get people to stick with Bing is if it delivers better results than Google, almost all of the time. That’s quite some task.

We haven’t used Bing enough yet to form an opinion of whether it’s significantly better than its predecessors, or anything like as good as Google. We’ll try and take it for a proper test drive though.

In the meantime, what do you think? Have you tried it? Do you think Microsoft will ever be a serious rival to Google in search, or should they just give up now?

More coverage

There’s more information about Bing over on TechCrunch and the BBC, but we reckon you should just try a few searches for yourself. Let us know how you get on.

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4 Responses

  • Keith D

    Bing? not sure about the name… unfortunately for most of us there is only one name – Google.

    It will have to be fantastic to stop us all Googleing.

    July 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm
  • Mobile Phone King

    Bling Bing? I’m not convinced. Surely just rebranding an inferior product rather than making it better…

    July 7, 2009 at 10:55 am
  • anton

    nice article about new serch engine BING, its look like indonesian word heheheh

    July 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm
  • Steve

    Bing is a catchy Name it sounds modern, and is easy to remember. The search engine is fast, i tested it at 15:30 UK Time. But it would be fast if no body is using it lol.

    I compared the search results with google and they seem more or less on par.

    I don’t like the banner. I think it makes it look cheesy, they should have gone for somthing plain like google.

    But yep i think there will be competition if google don’t stop adding things and just stick to search engines which they do best. As the above mentioned if they can produce better results than google and keep it plain i’d swap.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm