Microsoft Bing: Decision Engine Not Search Engine
Article by George Norman
On 29 May 2009
To put it more bluntly, Bing is the Live Search replacement that the Microsoft team called Kumo during its development process. The Bing web page is now up and running, but it only displays a big coming soon sign, as you can see from the image at the bottom. That’s at first glance, because when you click the big Bing icon you are directed to a video showcasing what Microsoft likes to call its “decision engine” because “the world doesn’t need another search engine.”

CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, comments: “Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the Web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find. When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the Web. Bing is an important first step forward in our long-term effort to deliver innovations in search that enable people to find information quickly and use the information they’ve found to accomplish tasks and make smart decisions.”


If you want to get an idea of how Bing will work, you can watch the video that Microsoft put online. But if you can’t spare 02:45 minutes (that’s how long the video is), we pulled the Bing highlights and presented them below for your convenience:

Incredibly relevant search results
BestMatch identifies the most relevant search result.
DeepLinks shows you the resources a web page has to offer.
Quick Preview lets you see a hover-over window that expands over a certain search result.

Organized search experience
Bing is capable of organizing the search results. Microsoft explains: “Bing includes a number of features that organize search results, including Explore Pane, a dynamically relevant set of navigation and search tools on the left side of the page; Web Groups, which groups results in intuitive ways both on the Explore Pane and in the actual results; and Related Searches and Quick Tabs, which is essentially a table of contents for different categories of search results. Collectively, these and other features in Bing help people navigate their search results, cut through the clutter of search overload and get right down to making important decisions.

Helping you make a decision
Microsoft found out that in certain areas people need help in making a decision, areas such as shopping, local business and information, and health-related searches. If you want to take a trip for example, Bing Travel thanks to the Rate Key will compare location, prices and services provided by multiple hotels and present you with a color-coded key of the best values.

Here is what Steve Wozniak, a.k.a Woz, co-founder of Apple had to say about the Bing demo: “I thought it was one of the most astounding software demos I’ve ever seen because it brought up things I’ve been begging for.” You can watch an interview with the Woz in which he details his opinions on Bing here.

Tags: Microsoft, Bing, search engine, decision engine, Kumo, Live Search
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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