Does Bing have swing? Readers’ opinions vary

Bing just may be the thing. The thing to give Google some serious competition in the search engine business, that is.

I heard from several readers who have tried Bing, the new search engine from Microsoft Corp., and the general consensus is that it’s pretty good. Some feel it’s perhaps a little flashy and that there is always room for improvement.

The folks at Microsoft heard from Yahoo Inc., which liked Bing enough to announce last month the formation of a search engine and advertising sales partnership. The deal is still being finished and must jump through some approval hoops. But the important pieces are that Yahoo will be using the Bing search technology and selling the advertising that surrounds ads on the search engine results. In theory, both companies will benefit as a single, stronger search engine instead of diluting the field with competing products.

Search-engine advertising continues to be one of the biggest moneymakers on the Internet, and Google Inc. has a commanding dominance in that field. The Microsoft-Yahoo partnership will result in Bing having about 35 percent of the search market, which begins to make a serious dent into the 800-pound gorilla of search engines — Google.

Closer to home, reader Al Gulseth said the Bing search results reminded him of “a warmed-over AltaVista.” He said the daily unique home-page photo on Bing is “OK for professional Web surfers who have nothing better to do.

“However, some of us prefer to just find what we are looking for quickly and move on. For me, ‘eye candy’ such as rotating home-page photos is far down the list of priorities.”

Gulseth expressed concerns about security with Microsoft’s Silverlight program, which integrates multimedia features such as audio and video into Web applications. He concludes: “I think they misspelled the name. ‘Bling’ would be a better description.”

Reader Penny J. Knapp likes Bing.

“I went to it with no problem and it came up FAST,” she writes.

Reader Will C. left comments on the original Bing column: “When it comes to results, casual searchers won’t be able to tell the difference between Bing and Google, I don’t think. I believe that Bing has a shot at closing the gap in a distant future, but it will take a lot more than what it’s got now to get it done.

“I’d also like to refer you to, for a try at something different in search. It’s a metasearch, so it pulls from various outside sources. But it reels in some great results and doesn’t duplicate them like a lot of other places.”

I haven’t seriously tested and would like to hear from others who have. Please share your thoughts on this, and other search options you use, by e-mail, with the subject “search engines.” I’ll follow up in a future column.

Happy surfing!

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