Microsoft Bing review: First Look

Microsoft has launched its latest assault on the search market with Bing. Is it a worthy opponent for Google at last?

As far as basic searches are concerned, the results that it provided came up speedily, so Microsoft seems to have banished the sluggishness that sometimes afflicted Live Search. Actual results were mixed for instance, searching for Bing reviews', brought up a list of sites with reviews for the engine in Google, but only one in Bing itself and that was further down the page the others were simply pages with Bing' in them.

We also searched for missing aircraft' - referencing the story of the missing Air France jet that was happening as we were writing this - and found Google did a better job, placing news stories at the top, where are we had to click the news tab in Bing.

The panel on the left in Bing is critical as this will provide related information on your search plug in a location, say San Francisco', and you'll get tabs that are specific to your search location depending on what info is available, such as local weather, hotels, restaurants or local attractions.

Multimap also isn't properly integrated into Bing, so that when you go to it there are no links back to Bing at the top. When you type a post code into Google the top link is a link to Google Maps with a thumbnail of the location but there's no such equivalent in Bing.

What impressed up most from our initial look at Bing is that once you've got past the name, Microsoft has made strides with its search tool. For search results its still not as impressive as Google, and it would be a brave person to jump ship at this point, but at least searches are fast. What it's done a great job with is the presentation of data, and I'd be happy to choose Bing for video and image searches right now.

Ultimately, it's of most benefit to those that use Internet Explorer and either don't know or don't care that the default search engine isn't Google they are automatically getting a better product and that has got to be a good thing.

While it's probably not enough to worry Google at present, it's got to be cause for concern to Yahoo, which will see Microsoft begin to muscle in on its second place position in search, and could end up pressuring it into making that deal' with Microsoft.

What's your current search experience like?

Make sure you have your say by taking part in the debate. You could even win an Xbox 360 in the process...

Verdict

Microsoft has made great strides with Bing, and in terms of presentation at least, its much more user friendly than live search, but we're still not convinced that its raw searching ability is a rival for Google.

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