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The new Microsoft Bing search engine introduces us to seven new and useful features, ranging from categorized search and deep links to related searches and search history.
Bing determines what it thinks is the best match for your search and features it at the top of the results.
When you move your mouse over a listing, a window appears in the right sidebar that shows you what’s on the page.
When you search Directory One, for example, and you mouse-over the orange dot, you get a description of the homepage along with links to inside pages:
These must be what Microsoft means by deep links, even though they are titled: Also on this page!
Categorized search helps users organize their search by increasing the authority and diversity of results. Bing groups search results by category. For example results for a specific city may include weather, airport, restaurant, and hotel groups
What they mean by groups is, for example, when you search the word Microsoft, the results are grouped by categories as you scroll down the page. So categories for Microsoft include:
- Microsoft Products
- Microsoft Online Services
- Microsoft Investor Relations
- Microsoft Company History
- Microsoft Jobs
- Microsoft Images
You can also click on any of the category headings to generate more related results.
Does categorized search actually improve relevance?
Not necessarily. When I searched the word Bing on Bing, of course the Bing search engine came up first. But Bing Crosby came up third, which is higher than where he came up when searching Bing on Google.
The bottom line is search engines by their very nature will never be 100% relevant because it’s simply not possible to serve up results that will please all searchers all the time. As the old adage goes, “you can’t be all things to all people.”
Bing gives you the opportunity to click on related searches in three places. First, a dropdown menu that appears as you enter your search word.
For example, when you enter the word Houston, you get eight choices in the dropdown:
- Houston Chronicle
- Houston Astros
- Houston Community College
- Houston Texans
- Houston Rockets
- Houston Weather
- Houston News
- Houston Press
You get five more to choose from at the top of the left sidebar:
And then seven more Related Searches under those.
Below the Related Searches you’ll see links to your search results from the last 48 hours. This is a nice touch because if you’ve searched for something once, chances are you’ll go back and search for it again later. Guess in a way that means you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for the first time.
Another useful feature that even Microsoft doesn’t mention, or at least I haven’t seen them mention, are telephone numbers. Business listings actually include either local or 800 numbers, in the window that appears in the right sidebar.