Bing Desktop Review: Updated With Inline Search And Facebook Integration

Way back in the old days of Windows 7, Microsoft released a Bing dynamic theme (there are several of these now) – meaning it was updated via RSS, adding new images from the famous daily backgrounds that the Microsoft search engine uses, but only occasional images were added. With the debut of Windows 8, the search wing of Microsoft rolled out Bing Desktop, which is a more complete solution.

The Bing Desktop app for Windows 8 added news and daily Bing images – the one that appears on the Bing web site will also appear on the desktop each and every day. Now Microsoft has rolled out a brand new update that puts the app on steroids.

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Google may have become a verb, but Microsoft would love for its search engine to take on that role as well. With the latest version, that carries the catchy name of 1.3.167.0, you can now search directly from a webpage, word document or PDF file simply by highlighting the word or phrase and clicking the Bing icon – talk about simplicity in action.

Those are all cool features, but far from everything included in what Microsoft has rolled out. For instance, have you ever been reading a post and wanted to get just a bit more information about the topic or a particular phrase? That is when most of us fire up Google (or Bing), copy the text, and then paste the words into the search box. With Inline Search, now all you have to do is highlight what you want to search, hit the Bing icon and you will be off and running to a preview of search results in a convenient window without ever leaving what you were doing.

Weather is an obviously necessary part of our days. After all, you need to know what to wear, if you should carry an umbrella or if that latest tropical storm is heading up the coast with your home in its bullseye! This can be accomplished in numerous ways from web sites to mobile apps, but now Bing Desktop just builds it in.

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Options may seem a bit sparse, but they cover the basics – allowing you to add locations, which is handy for travellers, as well switching between Fahrenheit and celsius.

News has been a part of the Bing desktop app since inception. However, in the new version, this feature has gone from good to better. With the latest updates to the news app, you can stay right up to date on news across various categories at a glance. Microsoft has added a new cascading layout that lets you see both images and text summaries so you can keep up on the news that you are interested in. The software giant also added a visual collection of the top trending items on the Web so you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in a waterfall layout.

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Trending news is depicted by a flame icon, while trending images have a more rational picture icon and video sports a simple “play” button. Note to Microsoft – how about a displays category? Some of us may happen to care about that!

Microsoft also brings the popular social network to its latest offering. In its effort to help you keep tabs on what’s happening with your friends, you will now see a notification appear whenever there is an update for you to to take a gander at.

This is Microsoft latest effort to invade your home. The company wishes to branch out from simply software and get into search, hardware and even your living room with new Xbox entertainment options. This latest update is certainly a step in the right direction, but this is a feature that the average user may not discover, making it a minor step.

What do you think? Will these features make you switch camp?