Last week, we wrote about the hype around Microsoft’s new Search Engine and the speculation about its new and improved name and we can now announce that it is, as predicted, going to be ‘Bing’.

This new product, that they are referring to as a ‘Decision’ Engine, is Microsoft’s latest attempt in it’s battle against the current search engine giant, Google, and Microsoft feels that with it’s new features and name it will soon improve it’s overall reputation and hopes to take over Google in the race for visitors.

Microsoft predict that the new branding and marketing budget of $80 million they have spent on their new product will attract a flurry of new and existing visitors to try out the new service, whilst the improved relevancy and features provided within the results will keep them hooked.

The launch is scheduled to take place early next week, which will begin with an initial preview before the formal product goes live to the nation.

There have been several new changes to the ‘decision’ engine, the main one being the introduction of ‘Web Grouping’, which segments the search results into different categories. For example for a search for ‘Obama’ the search categories that appear are:

  • Images
  • Biography
  • Facts
  • Quotes
  • Speeches
  • Issues
  • Videos

These particular groups / categories have been devised from previous search behaviour on this particular topic, meaning that this list of terms are often searched for in connection to Obama.

These ‘Web Groupings’ are not set to appear for every search that is performed, however there are plans for them to be present for such searches into Cars, Travel, Local, People, Sports and many more and the topics should broaden over time.

When a ‘Web Grouping’ is clicked on from the left hand side of the Bing results page, the user will ultimately ‘drill down’ into that category and be taken to a new SERP containing results related to that category, whilst the main results page will also be separated into the different categories too, to ensure that users notice and hopefully use the new feature.

The new SERPs will also host 20 results rather than the usual 10, which is hoped to improve user satisfaction as it is known that not many people visit the next pages of the search results, so providing more on the first page should help the user to find what they are looking for more quickly and efficiently.

Many other features are also rumoured to be part of the new product and some of these are as follows:

‘Search History’ – This feature stores a record of the searches that have been performed from a browser over the past 48 hours, whether the user is logged in or not, this can be found of the left hand side of the results page, so users can easily revisit searches that they have conducted previously.

Best Match – This appears when Bing is truly confident with the result a user is looking for and they are therefore provided with that one result under the heading ‘Best Match’. This result will appear above the rest of the results for easy access if it truly is the ‘Best Match’, whilst still making the other results easily available if not.

Quick Previews – This feature allows users to see a preview of the relevant content of a listed web page by hovering the cursor over the snippet.

Instant Answers – This concept has been around for a while and both Google and Yahoo! offer similar features, but this is a particular strength of Microsoft’s. This feature aims to provide instant answers to queries such as addresses, flight information and even ski reports etc.

These are just some of the new features that are due to appear on Bing and there are many more, such as:

  • Infinite scrolling images
  • Shopping Search
  • Local Search
  • Travel Search
  • Health Search

Whilst this new product is a dramatic improvement on the previous ‘Live Search’ that Microsoft produced, we think it is safe to say that this is not going to cause the ‘death’ of Google, which Microsoft are so desperately trying to achieve.

See the preview video at http://www.decisionengine.com/Default.html