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Friday, May 29, 2009

Microsoft launches as its new search engine

The new four-letter word in your life is Bing. Whether you'll bother to try it or not, Microsoft has great hopes for it. Bing is the latest iteration of Microsoft's search engine, and it's innovative enough for Microsoft to try to rebrand what used to be called Live Search and spend around $80-$100m on promotion.

Bing was announced today by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer at D7, the conference run by the Wall Street Journal's technology site, All Things Digital. Microsoft's staff have been using it for many months under a different name: Kumo.

It will be available to American users next Wednesday, 3 June, and UK users should have access to a beta version.

The new search engine has a number of innovative features, the main one being what Microsoft calls the Explorer pane on the left hand side. When you search for things, the Explorer pane finds results for related searches. This should be a big help for less experienced searches who aren't adept at querying search engines.

Microsoft has tried to make its search engine smarter and it makes assumptions based on real-world information sources, such as the MSN Calendar. For example, Bing provides different results if you search for Wimbledon during the tennis season or Cannes during the film festival than if you search for the same terms at Christmas.


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