Next week, Microsoft will unveil its new search engine, Bing (which wasn’t on the list of predicted names), the long awaited replacement to MSN Live.
Bing isn’t aiming to be a Google replacement, they are actually providing some things which are a bit different to the current search facilities available. Microsoft is calling their new release a ‘Decision Engine’.
Looking at the video preview on their site, I find it a bit confusing. Some pages look like tripadvisor, and some look like some kind of Amazon. It is obviously aiming to be a lot more comprehensive and more of a resource than the average search engine.
A Sydney Morning Herald article reports that the new engine will use an algorithm, keywords, and semantics to determine what searchers mean, which is similar to other search engines online currently. However, the USP is that the search engine is supposedly targetted specifically at online shoppers, which is not the whole search market, but certainly the part of the market in which businesses are interested – and advertising is certainly a main driver of web content. The initial version (Microsoft intends to keep throwing money at this), will help shoppers make decisions, plan trips, research health matters and find local businesses (apparently).
Some features mentioned:
- Specific shopping pages, with reviews and price comparisons – actually looks a lot like the site, Trusted Reviews.
- Travel pages- kind of like a combination of Trip Advisor and flight/hotel aggregator sites
- A health advisory section (a strange addition) – provided to ensure you get ‘trusted’ information for all your health queries – it is providing information from the most respected American institutions to answer these questions.
- There will be a “Best Match” feature that identifies and gives high priority to answers that seem to best fit queries. I am not sure what this means, shouldn’t they be listed in order of the answers to best fit queries anyway?
- Some of it looks quite similar to Google – e.g. listing a short index under a site linking to the main areas of that site. Providing a local area map with pushpins, which is what seems to have been appearing in Google search results lately for things like ‘hairdresser’
- “Quick Tabs” will appear automatically on search results pages with recommended query refinements. For example, searches on cities could trigger tabs for information regarding weather or tourist attractions. Restaurant searches might provide information on reservations and parking.
- Documents or videos can be previewed without clicking through to links.
- And like all its contemporary competitors, predictive text will be used to pre-empt your query.
It is an ambitious project, which seems to have been limited to just a certain few sections. It will be interesting to try it out next week and see if it could be a potential cure for the worlds Google habit.