50 Fantastic Bing Tricks And Tips

Stuff you may not know Bing can do

I like Microsoft's new search engine called Bing. It may be the background images - some of them are terrific. Maybe it's because it works with WOT (World of Trust)  so I can see site safety ratings.


Whatever it is, I'm taking Bing more seriously since I ran across these tips and tricks. I mean come on, with a name like Bing, it's hard to believe it's a real search engine - Bing? Bling? Bingo? you get the idea.
Take a look at these 50 tips and tricks - some of them are features that most search engines already use, some are unique to Bing.

Don't know if you would like Bing? Try Bingle, it displays search results from Google and Bing side by side. Still not sure? Check out Blind Search . It displays the results from three search engines side by side so you can see what results you prefer. The kicker? The results don't list which search engine (Yahoo, Bing or Google) provided which results. Pick the column of results you like and click on vote for this search engine to see which search engine results you liked the most. I end up choosing about half Bing and half Google. Blind search doesn't display more than the default number of results. If you like many search results per page you probably won't want to use it often.

50 Fantastic Bing Tricks for Students & Librarians


Signing off,

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by Sope on 2. September 2009 - 13:48  (32049)

Bingle is great if you want to get a feel for which of the two search engines may suit you best, or indeed if you want to use both simultaneously. It's now my current default search engine.

by Anonymous on 30. August 2009 - 2:01  (31891)

#2 and #3 Well SAID! So many of us myself included apparently have no clue how to use either search engine. I now feel quite a bit more knoweledgable in regards to both search engines. However, I also agree with #2 in regards to Bing search. If I knew what I was looking for in the begining I would have gone to the phone book. I don't want a search engine to assume they know me or what I was looking for. I guess I will continue to use "dogpile" if I have a real question.

by Anonymous on 26. August 2009 - 6:35  (31526)

I try to use Google's search operators frequently and I can categorically state that 99% of the time they do NOT work. Especially the NOT operator. Google is a great search engine for the populous, but absolutely useless if you want to do some serious searching.

by DesElms on 27. August 2009 - 16:23  (31661)

I could not more strongly disagree.

For starters, the NOT operator works just fine; however it's true that the minus (-) sign, when used with quotations, can be a bit more effective. That said, it has been my experience that multiple "nots" or minus signs will occasionally not seem to work. In such cases, only the first "not" will work, but subsequent ones won't. This is rare, however... but it can happen.

Secondly, it is a common mistake to try to use operators in Google which may very well work in Linux-style searching, but which aren't useful in Google searching. So when someone says that operators don't work in Google, the first thing I would want to do is watch over the complainant's shoulder and see precisely which operators s/he's using. Nearly every single time I've ever so done, said operator has tried to use either operators or syntax which don't work in Google (meaning that s/he never even bothered to read-up on what does and doesn't work in Google).

I am not a Microsoft hater. I am using mostly Microsoft products, and I tend to recommend same to clients. I also have postings on this very site where I decry the insensible pro-Linux/anti-Microsoft mentality just for hating Microsoft's sake. Linus Torvolds himself has recently been quoted in interviews calling insensible Microsoft hatred tantamount to a disease.

However, time and experience have shown that there is precious little which Microsoft does better than Google. Why, then, would Bing be any exception? And from my testing, it's not.

That said, don't get me wrong: Bing is good. Very good, actually. Quite nice.

However, if you notice the TV ad campaign that Microsoft is (at least as of this writing) running for it, you'll notice that it touts as its strongest feature that it will keep your search confined to what's relevant; and won't return search results which are irrelevant, but got returned because certain words in the search happened to exist on the wrongly-returned pages.

While that's all well and good for some people, it means that Bing is "thinking" for the searcher... making assumptions about their searches based on what the rest of the world tends to do, want and think...

...which could not be further from what I want a search engine to do. When it comes to searches -- nay, computing itself -- I'll do all the thinking and assuming, thankyouverymuch. Computing is a tool in my hand, there to do my bidding to the precision of my instruction... not the other way around.

It is the use of OPERATORS (and proper syntax) in Google, about which I wrote, below, that allows Google search results to be every bit as good -- more so, in fact -- as anything Bing can kick out. And that's quite by design. Google rightly believes that search engines should not be doing any "thinking" or "assuming" for anyone; that the old "garbage in, garbage out" maxim is exactly what should be true about searching... else, things will be missed because the search engine wrongly assumed something.

Plus, I don't know about anyone else, but what the rest of the world is doing in any given search engine is the last thing that I want affecting my own searching. What's popular is often what's dumb... just notice the inanity of what are the top-rated TV shows; or the latest fashion or even tech trends. As a unified entity, people can be very stupid. I don't what what most people think is relevant excluding things from my searching. I'll trust my use of operators and syntax to refine my searches, thank you.

So, then, perhaps my point is that Bing is for the lazy... people who really do only want to type-in the words, as I suggest one should never do in Google in my below posting; and while there may very well be a place for that on the Internet, there's no place for it in my life.

But that's just me. I certainly don't begrudge anyone using Bing instead of Google if that's their preference. They should just know that if they're ever, for whatever reason, in some sort of Google-vs-Bing competition (as if anyone would ever stage such a silly thing), and they happen to be the Bing contestant, and the likes of me is the Google contestant, they'll be buried alive. Believe it.


Gregg L. DesElms
gregg [at] greggdeselms.com
Napa, California


by DesElms on 27. August 2009 - 15:51  (31522)

I'm, for the most part, unimpressed with Bing.

Now, don't get me wrong: I admit that there are a few things in the 50 tips and tricks which are either not easily possible, or not possible at all (at least not in the same manner as with Bing) using Google...

...however, for the most part, if one is willing to use Google the way its creators had in mind, there is almost literally NOTHING which one cannot find relatively easily. The trick is learning how to use Google's operators.

Of course, one could consult the Google Guide, however, for most searching there's a much easier way, with fewer things to remember, to wit:

The mistake most Google users make is just typing-in the word or phrase for which they're searching. However, by simply learning how and when to use...

  • the plus sign (+)
  • the minus sign (-)
  • the quotation mark (")
  • the all-uppercase word "OR"

...one can VASTLY improve one's search results using Google.

Just four operators to remember, and how and when to use them. That's it. One's Google searches will, if one will bother to learn these simple things, become manifestly different... much, much, much better.

For starters, if you type john smith into the Google search box, Google will try its best to give you all pages with john smith together as a full name, but within just a few search results it will start showing pages with john somewhere on the page, and smith somewhere else on the page; and within just another few results, it will show pages with either john or smith on them, but not necessarily both. So, then, when one types-in only the words, the search results degrade rather quickly in Google.

If you then add sara jones to the search, it gets even weirder, even faster. The first few search results may have the full names john smith and sara jones, but quickly one will also get pages with all four words, but not necessarily arranged as full names; and then, within another few search results, pages with one or more of the words, but not necessarily all.

However, if one puts quotation marks around the names, things change manifestly. So, then, in other words, if the search is...

"john smith" "sara jones"

...then pretty much only pages with john smith and sara jones on them will be returned; followed reasonably (but not quite as) soon thereafter by pages with one full name or the other, but not necessarily both; and then only after many pages of that will it finally degrade to breaking-up the names, and then showing pages with not necessarily all of them.

Adding the plus (+) sign, however, changes EVERYTHING for the better. If, for example, the search terms are...

+"john smith" +"sara jones"

...then ONLY pages with BOTH full names will be returned for many pagesful of search results before things start to degrade to where just one full name or the other appears; then, after many pagesful of that, it will finally degrade to the point that pages with one or more of the four words, but not necessarily any others will appear. And when I say "many pagesful," I mean potentially hundreds. So that's pretty amazing, if you thinkg about it.

If you accidentally get a few sarah jones (with an "h" at the end of "sara") in your search results, then that's where the minus (-) sign comes in handy. The following search terms will show only pages with john smith and sara jones on them, but not sarah jones:

+"john smith" +"sara jones" -"sarah jones"

Or, alternatively, the following would also have worked:

+"john smith" +"sara jones" -sarah

The OR operator (and it must be in all-capital-letters) comes in handy when you want just the opposite: john smith and either sara jones or sarah jones, to wit:

+"john smith" +"sara jones" OR "sarah jones"

If one truly understands these examples, one now knows pretty much ALL one needs to know to VASTLY improve one's Googling!

Simple as that.

Using Google with just those operators and knowledge of how to use them, I can out-perform almost any search engine on the planet... Bing included.

Other things which one doesn't necessarily have to know, but which can come in handy:

  • The AND operator is always assumed to exist (whether or not it's actually there) between any two words which are not otherwise affected by other operators.

Single words which are proper dictionary words needn't be surrounded by quotation marks, but may still be affected by plus (+) or minus (-).

Irregular strings of characters which don't have any spaces in them, but which might nevertheless be misinterpreted by Google should have quotes around them. For example, one should be able to get away with PhD without quotes around it, but the period in Ph.D could be confusing to Google, so, to be safe, it should be "Ph.D" in your search terms.

Search terms which include characters which happen also to be Google operators obviously need quotes around them.

The only other thing which it could help to remember is the site: operator. If you want to find any pages with john smith and either sara jones or sara jones on them, but only on Gizmo's Tech Support Alert web site, then the search terms would be:

+"john smith" +"sara jones" OR "sarah jones" site:techsupportalert.com

There is no space between the colon (:) in site: and the domain name of the web site being searched; and neither the http:// or the www. parts are needed (in fact, they will goof it up).

Look how little all of that is to learn...

...yet look how powerful those simple, easy-to-remember tools can be!

Google is the deepest-crawled engine on the planet. Using these tools, and good "visualization" skills, I can find almost anything on the entire web using Google. And I mean ALMOST ANYTHING... no matter how deeply "hidden" on obscure web sites.

By "visualization" skills, I simply mean that before one types a search term, one should visualize how the searched-for text string(s) is(are) likely to appear on any given web page. And that's what you're looking for, remember: Web pages, not web sites. If more than one page on a site has the desired text string(s), don't worry, Google will list them all. Never search for sites; always search for pages.

And always visualize all the likely ways that a given text string (be it a name, a sentence, parts of sentences, etc.) are likely to appear on a web page, and then put quotes around them, and use the OR operator to separate the quoted groups.

Learn all that (and, really, you have to admit it's not that much), and you'll use Google, and only Google, for the rest of your days. Bings will come and go. Only Google, when used properly, truly works.

The Google Guide web site has TONS more that can help you refine things even further, but my whole point, here, is to demonstrate that by just remembering basically four things (plus maybe a few kinda' optional/peripheral things), one can do pretty much all the sophisticated searching on Google that one could ever possibly imagine... and typically more than is possible with Bing in most cases (though, for any given search, your mileage may vary).

I've gotten so good at it that I can win big money at parties embarrassing people who bet that I can't make certain things (which they believe are obscure) appear on the very first page of search results... or even among the top three results on said first page. It has become something of a parlor trick with me. They come away agreeing that I'm the best Googler they've ever met...

...and with empty pockets, of course. [grin]

To get a feel, though, for some of the other cools things available, take a gander at this video.

Finally, there's a slick little freeware utility called Google Hacks which can help you to benefit from some of Google's really advanced operators and complex search terms. See Jonny Fartypants's video about it here. (Actually, I just wanted an excuse to type "Jonny Fartypants.") [grin]

Hope that helps!


Gregg L. DesElms
gregg [at] greggdeselms.com
Napa, California


by mr6n8 on 27. August 2009 - 18:23  (31667)

I originally switched over to Bing as Google was giving me the "sorry" page as it kept thinking that I was not human by the similar entries that I was entering.

I find Bing's video and image results to be superior to Google and the fact that the videos will play when you mouse over is also a plus.

As far as I can tell, all of those operators you reference also work in Bing.

The page results are similar between the two, although I slightly prefer Bing.

I also like the page preview (or whatever it is called) of Bing.

I have never had an issue with the operator not working in Google as the other comment above.

by Jojo Yee on 26. August 2009 - 2:03  (31520)

Bingle is a good idea. Get search results from two engines at one go.

Is there a "Yagle" or "Goohoo" :>)

by mr6n8 on 25. August 2009 - 19:32  (31504)

Nice collection of tips.

I now use Bing as my primary search engine and installed the "official" Bing add on for Firefox to add bing to the search engine options on the toolbar.

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