In some cases, these left rail options will take you to images, video, etc., while in other cases they will take you to a more focused list of web pages that Bing believes will be useful.
+ The same "direct answers" that were available with Live Search are also available with Bing. Examples include:
+ When running an image search, you can focus by size, layout, color, style, people. Look for these options on the left rail on the search results page, as in this example. (These tools were available with Live.com search.) You can also find "related images" -- based on the composition of an image -- by hovering over an image with your cursor and selecting, "show related images."
+ When running a video search, you can narrow by length, screen size, resolution, and source. Look for these options on the left rail, as in this example. Very cool!.
+ WARNING! If you turn off the safe search feature when searching for images and then toss in the correct terms, you'll find a ton of adult material.
+ Microsoft's wonderful Virtual Earth maps and imagery appear when you run a Map search. Bing also offers 1-click directions. Here's an example. Note the directions to the Museum of Modern Art from from four compass locations (N, S, E, W) plus the option to add a specific location/address.
+ Boolean: Yes. Default is AND. OR is also available. More advanced search syntax here, here, and here. Note: These are the same options that were available with Live.com. No major changes seem to jump out at us.
Update: We have tested several of the advanced search operators and they appear to work correctly.
+ All searches can turned into RSS feeds. Most browsers should be able to autodetect the presence of an RSS feed. No? Simply append your search with the following: &format=rs.
+ In some cases, pages will be marked as an official site. Example. In this example, take note of the customer service number readily available and a search box to directly search the site from the results page.
Overall, while it's good and important to have another unique database of web content out there, we are a bit saddened to see the lack of new feature and services with this first release of Bing as opposed to what was available with Live.com. Bing is worth knowing about and using, but getting the masses to switch to it as their default search tool will be a massive challenge. Time will tell. Expect to see a lot of advertising for Bing. Finally, Bing Maps (and imagery) continues to mesmerize, and the limiting functions for images and video are very useful.
See Also: More Tips and Tricks (via Digital Inspirations)
See Also: Bing411 is Now Live (via TechCrunch)
This appears to be a simple rebranding and enhancement. Microsoft has had two interactive voice services (IVR) for several years. The first was Live411 (now Bing411). The service came from the Microsoft acquisition of long time player TellMe (1-800-555-Tell) which is still live. It appears that Bing411 adds several new features like movie times, movie ticket purchases and news headlines.
Want More Interactive Voice Response Tools?
+ 1-800-Free-411 (business and residential listings)
+ 1-800-Flights (Flight Info)
+ 1-866-My-TRAFC (Traffic Info for Major U.S. Cities)
Update: View the Bing TV Commercials (via SEL)