Microsoft’s search engine is now available on your desktop.
Microsoft has released the Bing Desktop Beta, that is available on Windows 7 desktops, in a bid to bring users away from Google
Microsoft has been having success with Internet Explorer 9 recently, even pushing TV ads highlighting the positive press it received. While Microsoft have earned respect for improving their once-maligned browser, focus has now shifted to their search engine: Bing.
The company has released Bing Desktop Beta for Windows 7, which brings the search engine to desktops, ahead of its integration into Windows 8 (and watered down integration into Xbox Live). The Bing Desktop Beta does two things: it provides an update to the background image daily, and allows users to search right from the desktop.
Despite being relatively unobtrusive, the browser is effectively a widget that goes on the desktop. That’s it. It also can’t be installed on Windows 8, even in Compatibility Mode, so Microsoft seem to be pitching the download as a way for Windows 7 users to use Bing who don’t intend to buy Windows 8. Still, it seems like a pretty feeble attempt.
Internet Explorer returns
As mentioned, Internet Explorer has seen a revival with Internet Explorer 9 and the upcoming IE 10 (which looks to be building on the strengths of its predecessor). Microsoft launched a Tumblr site which brought in reviews from outlets across the internet, and users from Twitter.
Despite Google claiming top spot in the browser world for a day – though don’t let Microsoft hear you saying that, who later refuted the claims and claimed the data was inaccurate – IE 9 is a solid browser. In IE 10 the browser goes under a Metro redesign, stripping away the unnecessary UI elements to focus on creating a positive experience for users.
If users use IE 10 in the Metro, the address bar will go away unless a URL is being entered. The Charms bar also repositions the functionality, providing context sensitive commands.
Whether Microsoft can compete with Google in search is unknown, but that isn’t putting the company off: in February 2012 the search engine had 15.3 percent of queries, while Google had 66.4 percent.
Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview now. Full release is this year.