While Microsoft and Yahoo enjoys an on-again, off-again acquisition relationship, rival Google continues to expand its lion’s share of search queries. In order to stay relevant in the highly lucrative search engine business, Microsoft today announced their newest challenge in the form of Bing, which is to be followed shortly by an $80 million advertising campaign to push their ware. TechCrunch has had some hands-on time with Bing and comes away impressed with the features Bing offers. Even using Google’s search, I often come across a lot of irrelevant hits while looking for a particular subject matter. Bing narrows down the search by offering a guide to eliminate subject matter that does not pertain to what you are looking for. According to TechCrunch’s Eric Schonfeld:
Every search also generates a guide on the left to help you refine your search. A search for ““kinkajou,Ã¢â‚¬Â for example, lets you refine by images, facts, sale, breeders, care, diseases, and videos. A search for ““Samsung LCD TVsÃ¢â‚¬Â brings up an entirely different set of guided results: shopping, review, manual, repair, buy, stand, images, and videos. If you search for images of ““butterflies,Ã¢â‚¬Â it lets you sift to show just Monarch, Swallowtail, Viceroy, Owl, and other types of butterflies. All of this categorization and concept-matching is Microsoft’s early attempt to bring in some basic semantic search technologies into a mainstream search engine. Each guided option is dynamically generated, just like the different sections of the search results page. ““Google, tried to preempt this,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mehdi, referring to Google’s new search refinement options it launched last week, which is also in the left pane. Those Google options, which include the ability to search across different time periods or for related keywords, are ““completely static,Ã¢â‚¬Â criticizes Mehdi. ““There is nothing new about it. It is a very minor rev, not as sophisticated as what we are doing. For us ever query is special.Ã¢â‚¬Â
If Bing can provide such specificity within a search query, I’m sold. I haven’t had the opportunity to check out Bing first-hand, but with a June 3rd release, I’m definitely excited. With dwindling market share due to its own complacency, Microsoft is finally restarted their pushing of the proverbial technological envelope (think Win7, OneNote 2010 and now Bing). Check out TechCrunch’s review and screen captures here.