Microsoft’s new search engine Bing is an interesting alternative to Google. In my experience, search results with Bing are at least equivalent to Google and frequently better in some way, particularly when the left-hand column includes a useful way to narrow down the search results. If you use bruceb favorites as your home page, you’ve probably noticed the Bing search box at the top of the page – try it instead of the Google box sometime. I’ve actually set Bing as my default search in Internet Explorer – click on the down arrow by the search window in the upper right hand corner and click on “Find more providers.”
Here’s a nice list of 50 tricks for Bing that’s worth looking over – you might find something that makes life online a little easier. Here are a few that stand out for me:
2. Do math. Enter a math calculation directly into the search box to compute anything from simple math to trig functions.
3. Ask questions directly. Type a question into the search box and if the answer is located in Encarta encyclopedia, you will get an answer directly.
24. Preview videos. Get a whole page of video thumbnails, then just hover over each to start it playing.
25. Preview websites. Get an image of the website from your search results just by hovering over the link.
31. Find low air fares. Enter “flights from x to y” (with x and y being the cities of travel) to find low air fares as well as predicted fare trends.
45. Try Bing 411. Call 1-800-BING-411 to get information via text message or to contact a business directly–for free.
46. Get turn-by-turn directions. Save both home and work starting points to get turn-by-turn directions over your phone from Bing 411 if you don’t have a phone with GPS.
Google does many of the same tricks. Enter a math calculation into a Google search box, you’ll get the answer; same with weather and maps and many of the others. There are lots of lists of Google search tips. But at the moment, some of the tricks seem a little more polished and intuitive in Bing, plus you get extra credit points for the novelty of using something besides Google – and there are pretty pictures in Bing as a special bonus.
For what it’s worth, I was particularly impressed by the results on Bing when I looked for air fares (“flights from x to y”), then clicked on the top link for “Cheap tickets from x to y.” After putting in details (dates, number of travelers), the results were far more complete than what I had gotten with Expedia or Orbitz.