Today at the D7 Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the new search engine that has been previously known under its code-name “Kumo” is going to be called “Bing” and will launch worldwide on Wednesday, June 3rd.
The search engine is being called a “Decision Engine” because its aim is to help you “navigate through excess information and find the shortest distance to an informed decision,” reads the new website promoting the engine, DiscoverBing.com. Reading between the lines of that statement, it’s clear that the goal of Bing is to help us search better and faster, without having to waste so much time scrolling through useless or irrelevant results, an experience that many of us have had in the past. In fact, it’s more of a common experience than you may have realized – a recent comScore Inc. study across search engines showed that as many as 30% of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result! They also found that approximately two-thirds of the remaining searches required a refinement or re-query on the search results page. What a waste of time!
Working with Bing Results
As to how Bing is going to refine the search process, that has to do with a combination of features built into Bing. Of course, still at the top of the list is relevant search results – obviously, that’s critical. However, the results on Bing have been refined to surface the best answer for you in the form of a search result called “Best Match” which will appear at the top of your results list. If you want to delve in deeper to the resources of a particular site, a feature called “Deep Links” can help you there. Also, a Quick Preview feature will display a hover-over window that expands the search result caption so you can decide if the result is worth the clickthrough.
Besides the search results themselves, Bing offers other features that help better organize the search experience, including an “Explore Pane” which helps guide your search by letting you filter the results by various search verticals (images, video, shopping, etc.). It also has a “related searches” section which can help you find a better query and beneath that, a search history section where you can easily recall past searches.
As to why Bing’s being called a “decision engine,” that has more to do with how it will help people make key decisions in the following areas: shopping, travel, local business and info, and health-related research. Queries in each of these areas will reveal specialized Bing features that will help make the process of making a decision easier.
For example, a Sentiment Extraction engine will scour user reviews and expert opinions to show whether that product you’re shopping for is worth the money.
If searching for travel, Bing compares the location, price and amenities of multiple hotels and provides a color-coded key of the best values. Also, a Price Predictor actually helps you decide when it’s the best time to buy an airline ticket in order to get the lowest price. These are featured carried over from Microsoft’s acquisition of Farecast, it’s just now better integrated into the search experience.
Videos & Pictures
When Bing launches, the URL will simply be www.bing.com – no more “Live search.”