There's virtually nothing that's new or innovative with Bing, and every screen that I look at reminds me of another engine. The opening screen looks like Ask, with the search box in a similar position, an image background, a choice below the search box for 'show all' or 'only from United Kingdom' and search options above - web, images, videos, shopping, news, maps, more. Ok.. a cross between Ask and Google.
When you start to search you're given suggested options, so nothing new about that. However, a search for hubble *doesn't* suggest hubble telescope! 'hubble space telescope', 'hubble images', 'hubble homes' and so on, but not the obvious choice.
We get our results, with related searches to the left, results in the middle and sponsored sites to the right. Nothing new or interesting in that. The summary of pages is sketchy to say the least - a bit of text, URL and link to cached pages. No indication of size of the page, when it was updated or visited, no thumbnail. I will however give some points because if you hold your cursor over the entry a little side box pops out giving a little more detail and 'more on this page', which is a reasonable solution, but I'd still prefer to see content on the page.
There is an advanced search function, which allows me to choose to add all terms, any terms, phrase or to exclude terms, but I have to add these one at a time. I can also restrict searches to a domain or specific site, choose a country (though despite what they say I can't search on a region such as Europe as I can with Exalead for example) or I can search limited to a language. However, when I tried this, by limiting to Albanian the first result was a page from the Guardian website about the Bronte sisters. So - not Albanian OR about the hubble telescope. Genius Microsoft, utter genius!
Image search isn't bad, with a sensible related searches option (better than when searching the web in fact), and the image pops out slightly larger if you mouse over it, with size and URL, with an option for similar images. This works reasonably well, and all the images are on the single page - you just keep getting more as you scroll down, which I quite like. There are search options for Size, Layout, Color, Style and People, which is a Google copy really.
Video option works ok, and an image starts to play immediately you cursor over it, though it doesn't play the entire video.
Shopping is a bit weird, since I was taken from the Bing site and dumped at somewhere called ciao! This was quite disconcerting, and it happened for every shopping search that I tried. Moreover, there wasn't a link to get me back to Bing either - I had to click to go back to the site via the browser back button. I've got no idea what's going on there, and while I could find out, if Microsoft can't be bothered to tell me upfront I fail to see why I should care.
News search is quite simply a joke. Brief headline, link to resource, and when the news item was listed. No suggestions, no way of rearranging the results - just the option to save as an RSS feed.
The Maps option takes me to multimap. This is reasonable in the sense that we're told (if we look hard enough) that this is 'From Microsoft Live Search' (note - not 'From Bing), but it leads to a further dislocation of resources. Bing is becoming something that is rather less than the sum of its parts.
Under the 'More option' we're given the chance to search web, videos, images and hang on - how is this 'more'? Oh, we're offered xRank, which is the only 'more' resource that we've not already seen. It's rather like a trending tool, but only works when you give it a search, so you have to kind of know what's trending for it to work properly. Interestingly there's an 'extras' option in the top right, with the chance to search blogs. Apparently it wouldn't have been sensible to include this under the 'more' option. I don't know why, but quite frankly by this point I'm giving up trying to work out how the rat's maze that is Microsoft's mind works. I presume that it's because this resource just links to their 'Bing Community'; it's not (as I first thought) a blog search option. Every other useful search engine has the chance to search blogs and some social media, but Bing doesn't clearly find this necessary.
There are many irritations with Bing. For example, if you click on help you are taken to a page over a Live.com, not Bing. Microsoft have launched a search engine (sorry, decision engine) and are too cheap or incompetent to provide their own help pages - they've simply redirected to their old engine! I discovered this while trying to change the search filter to strict. I can do this in Live, but there doesn't seem to be a way of doing it in Bing unless you really play around. By going into Images, running a search, changing the safe search option there, I can then ensure that it's changed throughout the system. What a mess. It's not that Bing doesn't have a page for Search preferences, it's just that it's almost impossible to get to it.
Bing is a total shambles. It's a mixture of the old, the borrowed and the bolted on. It provides virtually nothing noteworthy and I can't honestly see any reason to use it. What a wasted opportunity.