With the official release of Bing today, there’s plenty of news about Microsoft’s ‘decision engine’. The biggest development is the unveiling of the first commercial for the site.
The first ad establishes the idea that search engines today overload users with information rather than answering a question. Follow-up spots will reportedly portray how real-life conversations would go if people answered questions the same way as traditional search engines. The campaign will then turn to specific subjects which Bing has particular features for.
On the other side of the advertising picture, the Wall Street Journal reports that if the technology behind Bing does indeed produce more relevant results, it may help Microsoft take a bigger share of online advertising. That makes logical sense: for instance, a used BMW dealership would rather its ads be seen by people in the market for a second-hand vehicle than those searching for information on new models.
Turning to the technical side of Bing, eweek notes that the site adopts some of the common security measures of search rivals, most notably blocking direct links from the results page to suspected infected websites. Meanwhile copies of Internet Explorer 6 briefly had their default search setting switched to Bing after what Microsoft calls an unintentional glitch (which seems credible given how outdated and little used that edition of the browser is.)
Finally to follow up on my piece from Monday noting that several of the site’s key features appear to be missing, this turns out to be a regional issue. While the full site is available in the US, in some markets (such as the UK) not all features will be available immediately. To follow my previous example, a search for BMW in the U.K. simply gives the results and a list of ‘similar search terms’. In the US, the same search can be restricted to categories such as Jobs, Used and Dealers.
There’s no clear-cut explanation for this, though it appears the technology used to create customized categories for results has to be tweaked for different countries. In the meantime, users can access any edition of the site by clicking on the country name in the top right of the screen, though of course this will limit the relevance of results for searches where location is important.