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10 Things To Learn About Microsoft Bing

Bing, Microsoft's latest attempt to topple Google and Yahoo, is set to be launched on the 3rd of June in the UK but it is already available in beta mode. We went through the website and here are ten things we learnt about Microsoft's decision engine.

(1) Bing's homepage is 47 percent heavier than Google's at 37.3KB. This is significantly less than Yahoo the homepage (470KB), Yahoo the search engine (75KB) or Wolfram Alpha (212KB). This means faster loading times in most cases compared to the rest of the competition - but not Google.

(2) Bing, by default, identifies your geographical location and in our case, got it very close. Geo-location is very important to get relevant results within a close distance. This is something that Google has yet to achieve.

(3) Unlike Google, Shopping and maps are not properly integrated into Bing. Shopping is still handled by Ciao while Maps is managed by Multimap, both of which have been acquired by Microsoft.

(4) Live, Microsoft's older searcn engine iteration, still lives. Currently, Bing is still labelled as Live Search and has yet to be updated. Looking for Bing for example in the Live Search Help section brings no results.

(5) You cannot change the background of Bing. The image which is colourful, will change every day to suit world events and is designed to take no longer to load than a blank background.

(6) Google in general provides with more results than Microsoft's Bing. A search for Google in Bing brings 198 million hits while the same in Google brought more than 2.5 billion.

(7) Bing offers related searches, which Google doesn't, rather strangely. Related searches for Google for example yielded Ask Jeeves and Ask, which are rivals, as well as Amazon and CBBC.

(8) The word Bing has been carefully chosen because it resonates both as a verb and a noun. Furthermore, Bing, which is made up of two Chinese characters, "Bi" and "Ing" apparently means "very certain to respond" and "very certain to answer", according to Dr Qi Lu, President of Microsoft Online Services and former Yahoo employee.

(9) Bing has a nifty preview feature that allows users to preview text versions of a website without even having to visit it simply by hovering on the side. The preview also provides with clickable links. Just like Google, Bing also offers a cached version of search result pages.

(10) Bing's Image search not only allows the user to search according to size, but also includes layout, colour, style and people variables. In the last case, you can specify whether you want only faces, head and shoulders and others.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.