Bing adds music, videos, games
Tuesday, Microsoft's Bing search engine built on a good news month--Apple added Bing to the search options in the iPhone and its Safari browser, followed by Google's awkward imitation of Bing's artistic home-page photos--by adding some potentially useful search shortcuts.
That's "potentially" because some of these features aren't working yet.
As a company blog post explains, these changes aim to free users from having to click through to other sites (and, in the process, risk themselves to a "drive-by download" malware attack).
First, if you try a query that Bing recognizes as musically inclined, it will include links to play relevant songs--in many cases, entire recordings, not just 30-second previews--and view their lyrics. A query for "r.e.m. radio free europe lyrics," for instance, will connect you to a page with the song's inscrutable verbiage ("Keep me out of country in the word") and an option to listen to the 1983 recording. But on Wednesday afternoon, that second link only led to an apologetic please-come-back-later notice.
Lyrics sites have a bad history of leading Web users to their computers' doom, so by eliminating the need to look elsewhere Bing does its users a favor. (Bing gets its lyrics from Toronto-based LyricFind, which develops applications for the iPhone, Android and Facebook.) But it's a little weird that its site is coded to stop users from selecting and copying a verse or a chorus, and it also misses some less-than-obscure works--if you want to read Lou Reed's wonderful wordplay in "Sick of You," you'll have to search elsewhere.
Second, a Bing search for a TV show or movie title now surfaces extra data. For example, looking for "The Simpsons" brought up thumbnail previews of individual episodes, which started playing once I parked the cursor over each; clicking on the thumbnail brought up a Bing page showing the episode at a more normal size. TV-schedule listings are supposed to come later. Searches for "Mad Men" and "The Office," however, yielded nothing special. A query for "Toy Story 3," meanwhile, brought up a list of show times as well as links to reviews, blog posts and the movie's Wikipedia entry.
Finally, if you search for some popular games--for instance, Bejeweled or blackjack--Bing will let you play them right on its site. Microsoft says it's added "nearly 100" titles, courtesy of its Microsoft Games division, but many searches I tried ("sudoku," "checkers," "Risk") didn't pan out.
The easiest way to try these new features, however, is not to throw in random queries as I just did, but to visit Bing's Entertainment page, which lets you browse through them all. Have a look and post your own review in the comments.
Posted by: tbva | June 23, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Geezle | June 24, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MellisaandBill | June 25, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.