I’ve been playing with Microsoft’s Bing search engine over the last day to see how it stacks up to the others. The thing I always find when trying out a new search engine is that it’s so hard to find what I’m looking for because I’ve grown accustomed to formulating Google queries just right.

There’s one thing that I really like with Bing though, and it’s the image search capabilities. I remember trying out the image search feature on Live a few months ago, and it just didn’t stack up to the results Google Images returned. They must have tweaked their algorithm though, because now the results are excellent. Take a look at what I got searching for “Google Chrome logo” on both Bing and Google’s own site:

Bing image results for “Google Chrome logo”
bing google chrome logo.jpg

Google image results for “Google Chrome logo”
google chrome logo images.jpg

Bing displayed a lot more of what I was looking for, and I like the interface for filtering results a lot more than what Google offers. There were definitely a lot of design considerations taken into account with this…

For starters you can view image results in several different layouts/sizes. The page also lacks a “next” button… because it doesn’t need one! As you continue to scroll down the page more results will automatically be loaded so that you’re not bothered with shuffling through multiple pages of results.

And when you get to an image you want to see? Click on it, and instead of opening the site in a new window it opens it in a frame on the search results page. Not only that, but the left sidebar turns into a scrolling list of the image results so that you can shuffle from one result to the next without ever having to go back:

bing image search.jpg

All of these things might not be that big of a deal for some of you, but I search for images all of the time. Features like these can save me a good amount of time, and I have a feeling I’ll be using Bing for all of my image search needs from here on out. I just wish their web results were more like what I see on Google, but I’ll take what I can get.

Bing Homepage

There Are 11 Comments

  1. I’ve just played with it for a couple of hours and the results a very relevant. I found information that I couldn’t find in either Yahoo or Google.

    Added it to Firefox and Flock browsers. Thanks a lot.

  2. I think your screenshots choice might have been better. Bing screenshot shows only like 3 images over and over and over again. Google screenshot shows more images, and most of them seem relevant.

    Maybe it’s just me, but when I search for an images, I’d like to see variety. Finding different sizes of the image I like is simpler.

  3. The image search is pretty good indeed. One thing I don’t see as an advantage though:
    [quote]For starters you can view image results in several different layouts/sizes. The page also lacks a “next” button… because it doesn’t need one![/quote]
    If you want to share the page the image is on, you can’t because of this. Also, when you want to track where your image appears in the rankings, this makes it really difficult as well. I hope there is a way to turn this off, but I couldn’t find it when I just checked it quickly..

  4. From the few but deep searches i’ve made over Bing, the service didn’t do better than previous live results. And i am talking about some of my advance searches.

    You can argue that Bing has only been here for some days, but i suppose that all the background data from live is it’s base, so it didn’t start from scratch.

    Anyway, that image search is a bit more catchy than google’s but i think that i wont switch to bing so soon … or even remember it. For instance i think Yahoo search hasn’t been used by me since that year of … 99 … wow a decade ago …

    Anyway, competition is good for final users, and so, i really hope that bing got at the same level that google is, so google can increase the steps further and so on.

  5. @MarcoMr:

    I feel the same way but with Google.
    I haven’t used Google in years; over time I felt their results becoming less and less relevant, with more and more spam and junk commercial sites that people use to get AdSense money.

    So I switched to smaller search engines with moderately better results.

    I am now using Bing. Since Microsoft does not have much of an ad program, there is far less junk on it that is specifically submitted by people for monetization purposes. True, the MSNBot does find these junk pages on its own, but not to the same extent as Google.

    My only complaints about Bing are some things with image search and a bit more relevancy on dates. Otherwise, I am very happy with it.

  6. Leonid Mamchenkov wrote:
    I think your screenshots choice might have been better. Bing screenshot shows only like 3 images over and over and over again. Google screenshot shows more images, and most of them seem relevant.

    Yeah, but in terms of relevancy I’d say Bing took the crown there. If you scroll down in the results just a little further on Bing you’d also see all the same images from Google.

    Change wrote:
    If you want to share the page the image is on, you can’t because of this. Also, when you want to track where your image appears in the rankings, this makes it really difficult as well. I hope there is a way to turn this off, but I couldn’t find it when I just checked it quickly..

    Ahhh, good point. That is something they definitely need to figure out.

    MarcoMR wrote:
    Anyway, competition is good for final users, and so, i really hope that bing got at the same level that google is, so google can increase the steps further and so on.

    Exactly! It’s just like when Firefox started to challenge IE we started to see Microsoft step up their game. Hopefully the same will happen with these search engines.

  7. The image search for me did not work quite the way Ryan described. When I scroll to the bottom of the window, the search stops at the first thousand images and goes no farther. How do I go to the next thousand? Many thanks.

    Christopher B

    • Um, I don’t know if I tried to go past 1,000 images. I would think that If I got that far I’d start to think that I need to refine my search. :)

  8. I concur, try ‘Maurice Calvert’ on Bing and on Google.
    Bing finds me correctly (and my son, in passing) as hits #2 and 3, whereas Google fails miserably.
    One cannot draw conclusions from a single example, but I’m seeing many, many cases where Bing is much more focussed

  9. I agree that bing has better image services, but it fails dismally on video… Ray William Johnson (popular youtube comedian) shows up as the first result when you search him on google or youtube, but when searched on Bing Video, he didn’t even show up!

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