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8 Don't Just Do Search Better, Do It Differently

bingMicrosoft’s relaunched search tool, named Bing, came live this week and I think there’s a lot to like about it. The primary focus it seems is to reposition how we use and interact with search results rather than simply try to do a better Google. But, in doing so, perhaps it will create a better experience too.

While you can do regular old search on Bing, it is billed as a “decision engine” and presents and organizes results best when you are trying to find something like health answers, travel or shopping deals, local info or comparing items. With Bing, it appears that Microsoft is attempting to allow surfers to find and compare items or services they are shopping for and then integrate the actual purchase into the engine with Bing cashback. (Some items that you buy while searching on Bing reward you with cashback)

Travel is another important focus on Bing. You can bring together airline and hotel searches with price comparison and ratings and reviews. The look and feel of the travel portal is much more like that of an online travel agency than a search engine. You can even get the latest travel deals by following @fareologist on twitter.

Local search seems to get the short end of the stick. You can perform a local search and get results for local business much like you could via MSNLive Search. But, you must click on the local results tab to drill down and sort and filter your search by things like ratings. I was hoping this functionality would be more front and center.

    Some random features you might like:

  • Really like the page snapshot – just hover near the description of a search result and get a peek at the content
  • Video and image search engines seem to locate well and have nice search and filter tools
  • Related searches show up in the left sidebar and can help you refine your search
  • When you search for an individual you get all kinds of related searches such as quotes and interviews by that person

It’s worth checking out and I plan to work the travel site pretty hard to see what it turns up.

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3 Microsoft Webmaster Toolset

Windows LiveMicrosoft is now offering a Live Search Webmaster Center that is a bit like Google’s Webmaster Central.

If you are a site owner this is a great way to get some insight into how Live Search works, submit XML site maps and see how Live Search crawls your site. Worth the time and a good education too. You will need to sign-up for a Windows Live ID and verify that you are indeed the owner of the site you want to track.