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Microsoft Bing: 5 features that give it a shot against Google

Shane O'Neill | June 3, 2009
If Microsoft has any chance of reducing Google's reign it will be through Bing's organization of information and images on the results pages

Quick Previews/Hover

When you hover the mouse over a small orange dot to the right of links on a results page, a box appears with a text-based summary of what's on that site. The preview box may also include links to other parts of the site or at the very least a "Go to this Page" link.

Here, Microsoft aims to speed up access to the information people want. Microsoft's research has shown that 42 percent of searches require refinement, and 25 percent of clicks are the back button.

New Video Search

The user interface for Bing's Video search has been tweaked to simplify the grouping of videos from content providers such as Hulu and YouTube.

You'll see a few differences between Bing and Google when it comes to video. One is the layout. Bing video results spread across the page while Google's run down the left side. Click a small video icon in Bing - small video icons in Bing start playing when you mouse over them. Google does not have this feature - and the video plays in full across the top of the page. Google plays full videos on the right side of the page.

Also, Bing allows you to search for videos by length, screen size, resolution, and source, which includes content providers Hulu, YouTube, ESPN, MTV and of course MSN. Google does not provide this type of search for video.

Airfare and Hotel Search

Microsoft is using its 2008 acquisition of Farecast to try to surpass Google on airfare and hotel search. Farecast provides a tool that compares airfares by using an algorithm that recommends the best time to buy tickets. The Farecast technology is integrated with Bing search results so airfare deals are displayed on the page.

Farecast also works with hotel reservations and can be used to display hotel "deals" on the page when you search for hotels in a particular city. Microsoft says Bing, using the Farecast technology, estimates the going rate of a room at a certain hotel and compares it to the price being offered to figure out if it's a deal. 


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