Stupid name, I think Kumo would have been better; but Microsoft’s new search solution (or decision engine, as they seem to be marketing it) has gone live: Bing.
At a quick look, it’s not an immediate Google killer, but it’s friendlier and faster than previous Microsoft search engines and looks like it will be worth a more extended trial.
The basic search results seem fairly good, and there’s a little fly-out at the right of each result that shows a bit more of the page. The image search seemed a bit more random in what it turned up than I’m used to from Google – it did turn up relevant results near the top, but also contained a lot of other images with no obvious connection to what I was searching for (HMS Success) even when I gave it a literal string in quotes.
When searching for images or videos, there are some nice filtering options on the left hand side, so you can specify whether you want photos or illustrations, colour or black and white, or whether you want head and shoulders or faces only (in the case of images). Videos can be filtered on length, screen size (presumably aspect ratio wasn’t considered a friendly enough term) and resolution.
Maps are provided by Multimap, rather than Live Maps, which surprised me a little, but I was pleased to discover that Multimap – which I haven’t looked at for a long time – now includes Ordnance Survey maps among a selection of map views.
News was not exciting, and shopping appears to be provided by an external service.
Worth at least checking out, although I don’t think it’s going to get a mass of converts.
Edit: it's currently in beta if you're reading this from the UK, and probably other countries. If you want to make it think you're browsing from the US, you can temporarily fool it.