Yesterday morning, Microsoft unwrapped its new search engine to try to combat Google’s stronghold on the art of internet searching. Bing, the update to Microsoft Live Search, comes in an attractive package the Microsoft claims is faster and provides more targeted search results than the competition.

“I think the benefits are subtle,” said Andrew Frank, a research vice president at Gartner, Inc. “I don’t think they jump right out at you when you first start using it. It takes a while to appreciate the difference and I think the difference is a lot more pronounced in certain categories, like travel. Microsoft has focused on some specific categories, especially for ‘decision uses,’ as they call it. But you have to happen upon a lot of this to discover it.”

With a rumored marketing budget of over 100 million dollars, it better be everything that Microsoft claims. That is a large chunk of change to throw at a market that is already heavily dominated by a strong leader (Google) with other smaller, less complete alternatives (Yahoo, Ask, etc.).

Microsoft Bing Searching

Out of the box, Bing has a clean overall appearance and uses the aid of stunning images in an attempt to show you that this is not going to be the search engine you are used to. The results come quickly, but time will tell if this stays as more users tax the Microsoft resources. So far, the search engine results seem to be pretty similar to Google’s. There is one key difference between Bing and Google that I noticed right away. It appears that Bing does not have the same front page, two result restriction as found on Google. If you search for your own domain, more than two results from the same domain show up in the results on the front page. (edit – Can’t get this to replicate now but the same urls are not grouped in the results) This could be good news for those that put out consistent, quality content, but it could cause issues in the future with certain niches if one site controls the front page.

Bing does have a webmaster control panel, so I would suggest submitting your site url and sitemap as soon as possible to insure that Bing is spidering your content correctly.

Will Bing take over Google as the preferred search engine on the web? I don’t think so, but for Microsoft’s sake…I hope it is not another Windows Vista mess…

Video on Bing from Microsoft