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article imageMicrosoft rolls out ‘Decision engine’

By Jack Kapica     May 28, 2009 in Internet
Microsoft has looked into its arsenal and produced a new kind of search engine to compete with giants such as Google and Yahoo
With the rollout of a new kind of search engine, Microsoft is trying a new approach to challenging Google’s supremacy in the field.
The new service has a new brand name, Bing ( in the U.S. or in Canada), and has been designed, Microsoft says, not to look for data specifically, but to help people gain insight and make decisions. Citing its own research, Microsoft claims that 50 per cent of search results “fail to meet people’s needs” and 72 per cent are “looking for help organizing their results.”
As a result, Microsoft is hailing it as an entirely new kind of service, called a “decision machine” because it has been created to stop information overload and faster, help users make more informed decisions more quickly. The software company says that Bing will concentrate on four key areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business
Bing is being rolled out over the next few days and will be fully deployed worldwide on Wednesday, June 3. Bing is launching in English and will be available in Beta in French, for localization in France and Canada.
With an entirely new design for its home page, Bing will post a new image each day, with clickable information hotspots embedded in it for starting searches for video, news, shopping, travel, images or maps.
According to a fact sheet, Microsoft says results will be shown in an Explorer Pane, with options for filtering results and tracking search history. It will include Quick Tabs that anticipate the user’s intentions with more refined search results, and suggested Related Searches. The results page also features Document Preview, which allows you hover over results for a preview of the site’s content. It will also feature links to pages most likely to be of interest, such as like contact information.
Other features include Best Match, where the best answer is surfaced and called out; Deep Links, allowing more insight into what resources a particular site has to offer; and Quick Preview, a hover-over window that expands over a search result to provide a better sense of the related site’s relevance. Bing also includes one-click access to information through Instant Answers, designed to provide information within the body of the search results page, minimizing the need for additional clicks.
In announcing the rollout, Microsoft cited research from Internet researchers at comScore Inc. which shows that as many as 30 per cent of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result. Moreover, about two-thirds of the remaining searches required a refinement or a new query on the search results page.
“When we set out to build Bing, we grounded ourselves in a deep understanding of how people really want to use the Web,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “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.”
In keeping with the new Bing brand, Microsoft is also rebranding its mapping platform, Virtual Earth, as Bing Maps for Enterprise.
Bing Travel will be using technology from travel site Farecast, which the Microsoft bought in April, 2008.
Microsoft’s cashback program is now renamed Bing cashback, and is said to offer more than 850 merchants and 17 million products. It will be integrated into the Bing Shopping experience.
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