What Is Bing?

Category: Search-Engines

Today you have many search engines to choose from. Each search engine offers you both standard keyword search options and a few special features. One of the newest search engines to hit the streets is Microsoft's Bing. Let's see what interesting features Bing has, and how it differs from the others...

Bing search engine

Bing – A New Kind of Search Engine

Bing is a new search engine from Microsoft. It's a lot like other search engines in that it allows you to use keywords to search for web content and it allows you to search for content based on category searches. I was a little worried that the name rhymed with "cha-ching!" and wondered if it was an inside joke by the folks at Microsoft. But Bing does have some unique features that make it worth a try.

First of all it is being promoted as a "decision-engine" as opposed to a "search engine." This is because its features give you more information about your search results than Google or Yahoo! For example, if you place your mouse over of your search results, then slide over to the little orange circle, an expanded description of the website will appear. It took me a while to figure out WHY that little orange circle was over there, but it's a useful way to preview a link before you leap.

Bing - more information links

Video Previews

Another unique feature is found under the "Video" tab. Here you can search for a specific type of video. Once your results are presented you can mouse over the video you are interested in. When you do this the video will play from the thumbnail. The audio may be more useful than the video, because it's so tiny. And I wonder how long it will take the video sites like Youtube start suing Microsoft for effectively stealing their content and incorporating it into the Bing interface.

Superpowered Shopping

The shopping tab allows you to not only find the items that you are interested in by brand name, item item or even color, but Bing will also harvest product reviews, ratings and prices for each of the products in your search results.

Travel Tools

If you're searching for plane tickets, and you enter "flights from NYC to Orlando" Bing will present you with a "cheap flights" link that shows you whether prices are likely to rise or fall, and a calendar that shows how the price may vary depending on your departure and return dates. If you continue into the Bing Travel interface, you can compare prices from multiple travel sites, and even see the best time of day to schedule your flight to get the lowest rates.

Bing - Travel


Cashback Program

Bing Cashback One feature of the Bing search engine that will appeal to online shoppers is the Cashback program. Here's how Cashback works... Visit Bing, click on the Shopping link and search for a product, like "mp3 player" for example. Some of the results will have a "Bing cashback" link and a cashback savings percentage. Compare and sort the products by price or ratings, then click to go to the online store. After making an eligible purchase, you'll get an email confirming your Bing cashback savings.

You can earn up to $2,500 per year with this program. As your earnings accumulate you will see them post to your Cashback account, usually within 60 days of earning the cashback reward. You will need at least $5 in your account before you can claim your earnings. You can get your cashback rewards via a check, a direct deposit into your checking account or a money transfer into your Paypal account. In order to participate in this program you must be over 18 years old and you will also need a Windows Live account.

Bing Versus Other Search Engines

Bing has some cool features, such as the cashback program, expanded information for search results, video previews and shopping tools. But the most common thing I've heard people saying is that "it looks a lot like Google." There are some nifty features in Bing, but maybe the bare-bones interface makes them a little hard to find.

Bing may not convince the masses to switch over from Google or Yahoo in the short term, but it's worth a look. The official launch of Bing is slated for June 3 2009, but you can try it out now.

UPDATE: After publishing this article and stewing for a few hours, I've put a finger on my discomfort with Bing. I'll sum it up in two words: Tight Integration. It's the hallmark of everything that Microsoft does wrong. Products like Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Office are so tightly bound to the Windows OS, and that has caused both security and anti-trust concerns. Now I see that everything that comes out of Bing -- the search results, the travel recommendations, the shopping system, etc -- is all tightly bound to MS. It's designed to keep you in Bing, or at least in some web sphere that benefits Microsoft. That's not necessarily bad, but it does cast a shadow on the accuracy and/or relevance of the results they present. Anyone else have concerns about this?

Have you tried Bing? Post a comment and tell us what you think...

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Most recent comments on "What Is Bing?"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

03 Jun 2009

Re: tight integration, see "Microsoft's Bing playing fast and loose with fair use?" on ZDNet -- http://blogs.zdnet.com/Howell/?p=245

Posted by:

03 Jun 2009

Right off the git... Go to Bing and do a search on Google. Now try Yahoo. Now type in Bing. .... a bit different. Not even subtle.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Actually, I think those results are fabulous. Bing has realized that most people who type Google or Yahoo into a search engine are not looking for information about those keywords -- they want to go there and search.

Posted by:

03 Jun 2009

I typed "FR-3111" into Bing, Google and Yahoo with 131, about 69,800 and 1,160,000 results respectively. The item I was looking for, a Mitsuba FR-3111 turn-signal flasher for my motorcycle received 383, about 100, and 10 hits each when adding the word "mitsuba" to the search.

They each certainly seem to be different.

If Bing can filter out those bogus sites that list ebay listings, or just "lists", I might be inclined to switch from Yahoo.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2009

Haven't you heard? Bing stands for "But It's Not Google!"

Posted by:

09 Jun 2009

Found out about Bing from an article which also mentiouned yaub.com, another recently arrived search engine. Been trying both in parallel since then.

Results in "Bing" (another sad attempt at a lively memorable name) are essentially the same as in msb/live search, and other otherly branded MS offerings. Not impressive. Excessive integration and stickiness and usual lack of concern for user privacy are not surprising.

"New" features unremarkable in the face of search engines like clusty (formerly vivisimo), or kartoo or even ujiko. (Not to mention the newest from google and the largely untapped, undocumented abilities of yahoo search, derived from inktomi.)

But back to the beginning: Yaub seems to take privacy seriously, has a surprisingly fast "real-time" results set, culling seemingly within minutes from twitter and the like, and allows to search traditional internet web and news sites, PDFs and PPTs, blogs, images, social networks and more with two clicks -plus the query itself, of course.

Worth a visit.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2009

You like Bing, good. You do not like Bing and want it removed from your system? HAH! Not gonna happen. MS learned a lot from it's locked in IE trick, Bing is a permanent addition to IE whether you want it or not.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2009

Jerry, Bing just replaced Live.com. If you don't want it, can't you just remove Bing from the search provider list? Click the down arrow next to the magnifying glass (in the upper right of IE), and select Manage Search Providers. Select your preferred search provider and click the "Set as default" button. Now you can leave Bing there for when you want it, or select Bing and click the "Remove" button. Nothing is locked, dude.

And the idiocy of IE being "locked" is mind-numbing. You can choose whatever browser you want and make that your default. You can even remove IE from your system so that you can't browse the internet with it at all. However, since MS uses the mshtml control for much of its user interaction, that (and its supporting code) must remain. It's just another dll MS includes in Windows. That's it.

And no, I'm not a MS believer. But I am a coder, and it's much easier to deliver a user interface using html, so I can't blame MS for making this decision at all.

Nothing forces you to use Windows (except maybe your place of work), or IE, or Bing. I use Firefox and Google on Windows, and I'm perfectly happy with all of them.

Posted by:

Mark Jacobs
09 Jun 2009

My first Bing search: To test it out I typed in the name of the city where I live. Top result the town courhouse. What is their page rank criteria?

Posted by:

Terry O'Connor
10 Jun 2009

I simply do not like Bing and want to remove it! Are you saying that Microsoft does not allow the option of removing it? That's just not right on several levels!!! Doesn't it also promote annoying ad pop-ups?

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, I'm not saying you cannot remove it. Bing is just a website, so close your browser and it's gone. Where did you hear that Bing was promoting popups??

Posted by:

10 Jun 2009

I'm no search guru, but Bing gave me more relevant results than Google when searching for "tick bite." Bing also categorized results into 'treatment', 'first-aid', 'symptoms', etc. I think for the casual search, Bing is good.

Posted by:

Dave S.
18 Jun 2009

I have not tried to look for this on Bing, but evidently there's a big problem with kids being able to easily get to p**nography and view videos.

According to Kim Komando, a syndicated computer guru who has a weekly show and daily "Computer Minute" on hundreds of radio stations around the country, most computer savvy kids can get around the simple blocks for that kind of adult material. Is this true?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't think the problem is specific to Bing. But yes, p**n is rampant online and there's really nothing to stop kids from finding it, aside from parental vigilance.

Posted by:

28 Jul 2009

tan man it appears tha bing is "locked" in manage search providers, the remove button will not highlight when bing is clicked nor will it change from being your default. so i can relate to the other user. any other solutions?

Posted by:

08 Sep 2009

Bing also generates extremely annoying popup ads like electronic litter, and there is no feature to turn it off. it does not matter what your search pref is. it is just more msft invasive software crap. it also targets ads at you depending on where you serf or what you search for. google is just as bad. there both crap and their search results are often old, dead links.

Posted by:

26 Sep 2009

I think bing sucks, every sense it's introduction I have had nothing but trouble with microsoft virtual earth 3D and it's constant flashing when downloading. It will not center on a chosen fixed point and the close ups are not even worth the time to think about using it any more. I have never been so disappointed in the internet as I am with this "stuff". Microsoft is horse pucky any more. I want the old microsoft with out bing back. Yes the pop ups suck too.

Posted by:

12 Mar 2010

I am changing my homepage to yahoo. I do not like this BING page. Who in the world came up with this page and who gave msn the nerve to change it without my permission.

Posted by:

Ken Busler
08 Nov 2010

Even if you remove bing as your search engine, it still has links embedded in websites. I cannot seem to remove them.

Posted by:

11 Jun 2012

The continual blinking on the BING line is driving me crazy - will change my web page if I cannot make it quit blinking. I prefer Google search but like the MSN web page for news and for going into my hotmail. Guess I will go to FOX.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Blinking on Bing? I don't see any blinking when I use Bing.

Posted by:

17 Jun 2013

yes i had used bing. it is an excellent feature for serching images,videos, maps than other search engines.

Posted by:

31 Oct 2013

I am bored with Google and its strife for world domination...have used Google for 5 or 6 yrs now, maybe more, I don't know. For Ever. (I'm a nerd) But lately they just want to know everything about everyone and so I went over to Bing, well, MS isn't really different from a corporate of point of view - but I do welcome a change. With Bing the front page is fun and the search result are very satisfactory. So Bing it is for a bit. And if one is too overly concerned about all that privacy thing, which I'm not, I just hate to be pestered (I'm one in a trillion after all) the one can always use duckduckgo, or some such.

Posted by:

B. Miller
15 Mar 2016

Bing has taken over my browsers and I can't get rid of it. It just keeps coming back and making itself the default search engine. I run windows 8.1. I have gone into the settings and turned the Bing off. Yet it is still infiltrating the other browsers and taking over.
I am hating MS more all the time with their sneaky bullying to push their programs onto the consumers whether they want it or not.
Linux is looking better all the time. But even with Linux on my old desktop, Google has announced that it is going to discontinue compatiblitly with Linux. Maybe pressure from MS to do so. Without Google on Linux the Netflix movies won't run.
My wife is getting to the point that she wants to just get rid of the computers and internet completely and go back to reading books and playing board games as we used to before the computer/internet took over our lives.
MS is crossing a line by forcing their programs onto the consumers and busesses.

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