Microsoft lifts lid on search engine

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Glenn Chapman

Microsoft yesterday unveiled a new search engine, Bing, designed to intuitively understand what people are searching for on the Internet and challenge online king Google.

The U.S. software colossus refers to Bing as a “Decision Engine” and said it will have it deployed worldwide at by Wednesday.

“Today, search engines do a decent job of helping people navigate the web and find information, but they don’t do a very good job of enabling people to use the information they find,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Bing search employs semantic technology intended to help it recognize not just key words but what is intended by phrases typed in as online queries, according to Microsoft.

Internet search engines have traditionally relied on matching key words to words found at websites. Bing is built to “go beyond today’s search experience” by recognizing content and adapting to query types, according to the Redmond, Wash.-based company.

Bing takes aim at Microsoft arch-rival Google, which dominates the online search market.

Bing will replace MSN Live search, which has languished in a distant third place behind Google and Yahoo!

“Microsoft’s Bing will change the face of search,” Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk proclaimed in a blog post at the technology-tracking firm’s website.

“Bing focuses on delivering answers, not web pages.”

Bing gives Microsoft “a leg up” on competitors but is more likely to lure users from Yahoo! than Google because “Google is too much of a habit for everyone,” according to VanBoskirk.

The search engine is aimed at online shoppers and will initially focus on helping people make buying decisions, plan trips, research health matters, or find local businesses.

Microsoft cited study results indicating that an estimated 30 per cent of online searches are abandoned out of frustration and that searchers often fail to get what they seek on a first try.

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