It’s been six years since Bing’s launch, and it has certainly come a long way. Multiple improvements and strategic partnerships have all worked to legitimize the newcomer in the search engine community.
Bing brands itself as a “decision engine”, serving to present relevant context instead of just text on a page, so users can find what they need and quickly move on to more important decisions.
Bing is not the most prominent search engine, however, most who have made the switch, love it. We’ve compiled a list of the ten most powerful Bing features so you can see for yourself the uniqueness it has to offer.
Bing It On
1) Search and You Shall Receive: Bing Rewards
Bing entices users to give it an honest try by offering the Bing Rewards program. Just by searching the web with Bing, users can earn credits and redeem them for rewards.
- Gift Cards: $5 gift cards can be redeemed for 525 credits. There are many to choose from, for instance, Amazon, Domino’s, GameStop, and Sephora.
- Subscriptions: 1-month subscriptions for services like Hulu, Skype, and Xbox Live can be redeemed for anywhere from 300 credits to 700 credits.
- Sweepstakes: If gambling is more your thing, Microsoft regularly offers the chance to earn big prizes (e.g. $500 Target gift cards, etc.) that cost anywhere from 20 credits to 50 credits per entry.
- Donations: If you’re more of a giver than a taker, you can give up your credits and Microsoft will make a donation on your behalf to one of their partnered charities, including Kids In Need and Teach For America.
2) The Homescreen, You Can’t Look Away
Bing always makes sure to attract users by featuring mesmerizing pictures that frequently change as the background on the homescreen. It also shows smaller pictures at the bottom with the current trending headlines.
3) The More The Merrier – Autocomplete Suggestions
Bing’s autocomplete suggestions are better than Google’s. Google only gives four, while Bing gives eight.
4) The Result Before the Result – Snapshot
Users are always looking for the quickest way to get information. Aside from suggestions when introducing a search, Bing presents a quick “snapshot” of basic information that can be clicked on to explore more about a search query. A Snapshot also includes quick links to points of interest, such as news, imagery, biographies, quotes, etc.
5) What? When? Where? – Timeline
Aside from the basic facts, Bing’s “timeline” feature offers key events in the lifetime of influential or famous people’s lives. However, if it is not in the user’s best interest to see this, it will not show up. For instance, for singers or actors what will appear instead is their movies or songs, assuming this is what interests searchers more.
6) Haven’t You Heard? Video Is Where It’s At
Video marketing is a trending topic in 2016 and with good reason – a video is a more immersive experience. Bing video search feature understands this and has worked hard to enhance its layout.
A few ways it has done this are:
- Bigger images: Enlarged thumbnails, making it easier for users to scan.
- View Selection: Switches between grid view and list view.
- More information before you watch: Channel, upload date, and view count for each video and some thumbnails will play a short preview when you scroll on top of them.
- “Hero” video for songs: Search will display the video with the highest results for the query.
- Related searches are easier to explore: Search results provide more detailed suggestions of people, places or things related to the search query.
7) The Re-birth of Bing Maps
In response to 46,000 pieces of feedback from users, Bing has recently launched its new Maps layout. Aside from looking nicer, the update adds a lot of functionality, making the service a solid competitor to Google Maps.
Some of the improvements include:
- Search Quality: Information provided is more relevant and richer than before.
- Auto-Suggest: Displaying categories and icons for suggestions to better identify what they are.
- Additional Results: up to 20 matching results are shown, including additional information about each.
- Directions and Traffic: Easier navigation and quicker, more accurate results – for instance, just add mode of transportation (train, car, walking) and get the exact route for each.
8) Connect the Dots: Smart Tags
Bing now offers smart tags in its News feature. It helps users connect stories by linking key topics of each article and how they relate to other articles. This new addition shows users how individual news pieces relate to a bigger picture.
9) Academics In One Place: Online Courses
People of all ages and professional levels can benefit from online courses. If you’re looking for online courses you can take, Bing is the place to go. By entering the name of a university, you can find popular online courses that school has to offer. You can also find courses the other way around – enter the name of the course, and Bing will present a list of universities offering.
10) Advertise with Bing Ads
AdWords is the most widely used platform. If your goal is to reach the most amount of people, AdWords is your best choice. However, Bing Ads offers exclusive advantages when targeting specific audiences and industries. Read our blog and learn these little-known Bing Ads truths, covering everything from optimization tips to upcoming additions.
New Features Every Day
Four years ago, Bing engineers presented new features once a month. However, in order to stay relevant, Bing has been working nonstop to develop, test, and update their search technology.
The extent of these efforts was recently made public on the Bing blog by Dr. Jan Pedersen, Chief Scientist, Bing and Information Platform R&D, in which he wrote that Bing is constantly updating their search engine “multiple times per day”. In 2016, Bing has 600 engineers, is running 20,000 tests on each feature submission and has kept feature submission times below 30 minutes – this is 6x the engineers and 10,000 more tests than Bing had four years ago.
On The Rise
Ultimately, whether your preference is Google or Bing, the question becomes, which search engine meets your demands the best? Bing holds 33% of the market share in the U.S. That means that every 1/3 of searchers use Bing as their primary search engine. To us, this means one thing…they are definitly Binging it on!