Looking at Bing
Bing has been greeted with impressive results ever since it launched in June and an imminent Bing 2.0 release has been declared 'super impressive' on Twitter. This week Microsoft sweetened the deal with significant eye-candy through the beta release of Bing Visual Search. Search Engine Land provided a comprehensive run down of the features and benefits that resulted from Microsoft's observation that people reacted 20% faster to images than they did to text. PC World did a hands on and declared Visual Search 'addictive'.
Microsoft's corporate hand could be seen by the need to download Silverlight (their Flash competitor) in order to use Visual Search. The Silverlight requirement was viewed as something of a wild card that might hurt as much as it helps in the long run.
One theory explaining Bing's early success was put forth by Rafe Needleman of Cnet. Unlike Google, which treats all queries more or less equally, Bing unleashes a powerful feature set against the most popular searches. The Noisy Channel went into more detail on the features that enhance popular searches on Bing and the likelihood that users will return, even with 'long tail' queries. Another positive theme circulating about Bing is that it handles some vertical searches better than do other engines. Search Engine Watch shared data concerning improvements for its retail SEM clients and even more so for the financial services sector.