Microsoft’s first serious attempt at a Google-beater went live on Friday for US users and is now available in beta form for UK searchers.
The big friendly search page is very “Web 2.0”, its all big simple fonts and whitewash villas, no actually, there’s a picture of whitewashed villas, which will make you want to search for whitewashed villas, but don’t get distracted, you’ve got searching to do.
Bing is a new-breed of search engine, it want to give you answers, all by itself. The UK version is, as yet, without the much hyped “Local” search option, which Microsoft have been hyping in the run-up to the launch. A team of 60 web-bods are working full-time to bring Bing’s Local option to UK users as soon as possible.
The search results look dismally like Live Search’s but, unlike Live Search the side bar with related searches works smoothly and offers an array of pertinent links to potentially related subjects, which is nice.
So say you search; Nikon D300, you get; Nikon D300 review, Nikon D300 sales, Nikon D300 to buy, in your related searches, all of which is very helpful.
The image search is better than Google’s, it offers filters which allow you to hone your search precisely.
The video and shopping searches also equally hold their own. But in terms of Search, because after all Bing is primarily a search engine, Bing still falls short of Google’s unerring and uncanny knack of finding just what you’re looking for.
But beating Google is maybe setting Microsoft’s sites a bit high. Live Search had about 8.5% of the global search market, behind Yahoo on 18% and Google on 69%. So leapfrogging Yahoo might be the first step for Microsoft, but right now, will I be deserting Google for Bing? No.