Microsoft's Now Live

The software giant's latest answer to Google has popped up on the Web.

Bing!  You're now free to move around Microsoft's internet search engine. Bing, which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off last week, has gone live on the Web sooner than most expected.

Designed to take Google on directly, Bing goes with a pretty background instead of Google's spartan white. When I last visited Bing, it featured hot air balloons.

The categories are similar to Google - there are maps and image search - and video is even better than Google:  You can watch the video from the search interface itself. (It's been pointed out that you could consider it a bug instead of a feature, as kids could use it to watch naughty videos.  If a parent has Web-monitoring software on the family computer, that software will not realize Bing is showing porn.)

Of course, nothing is more important than the actual results of your search.  Bing answered my standard test question, one I came up with 10 years ago: "Who was the third person on the moon?"  (Pete Conrad). It found me when I searched for my own name.  I can find my house on the map.

Is it enough to make me switch?  Probably not.  Old habits die hard.

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