Microsoft overhauls search with Bing

Microsoft has revamped and renamed its search engine, now called Bing.

Among the most noticeable new additions to the site is what Microsoft is calling an Explorer pane on the left hand side of the screen. When you enter a search term into the main window, the Explorer pane lists related searches.

The feature is intended to ensure that people find whatever they’re searching for at the first time of asking, even if their initial query wasn’t perfectly formed.

Relevancy has also come under the Microsoft microscope. Bing will now run every query past a calender of important dates so that if you type in Liverpool, for example, and it discovers a Champions League match featuring Liverpool is playing that day, it will promote that result to the top of the list.

Other neat features include a text preview of each site, accessed by holding the mouse over a search result. Microsoft has also integrated the shopping comparison service Ciao into the site, allowing it to display various prices when you enter a product name.

At the time of writing, attempting to access Bing in the UK delivers you to a “coming soon” page. Microsoft says the minimalist look will be replaced by a UK preview site on 1 June, with the service going fully live by 3 June.

Microsoft has been testing Bing internally under the codename Kumo for several months, and says it will be backing the launch with a $100 million ad campaign.

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