Microsoft Bing launches

Microsoft Bing launched today publicly, and color me impressed.image   I was always a fan of portions of Live Search, but the improvement they’ve made across the board with Bing is impressive. It’s nowhere near a Google knock-out punch, but it has marked improvement in key areas, that it’s going to be hard for people to ignore how well Bing performs. Perhaps John Battelle’s 2009 prediction of “at least a five point gain in [Microsoft] search share” will come true after all?

Searches to try to see some of the new functionality:

  1. Up” – will give you movie showtimes in your city
  2. “Up” video search will give thumbnails of videos, but the best part is when you hover over each with your mouse pointer.  Instant preview!
  3. flights from sea to nyc” shows you airfare predictions based on Farecast technology with one click access to 30-day outlook on fare prices.
  4. Medical searches like “swine flu” – see the left hand side for categories to help refine your search (Articles, symptoms, causes,…), related searches (who knew there was a  “1976 swine flu scare”?) and also returns credible results at the top from the Mayo Clinic.
  5. Using Bing Maps, simple food searches like “pizza” will auto detect your location and show you all matching nearby restaurants .

This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list, but are neat improvements I’ve noticed in my usage over the past couple of hours.  Anything cool I’m missing?