Bing set to go global

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Software giant's latest effort to compete with search engine Google

Bing, Microsoft's rebranded search engine has been unveiled.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer revealed the rejuvenated search service at a Wall Street Journal tech conference.

Labelled a 'decision engine', Bing - previously known as MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search - will be available to the global public next Wednesday.

Windows says Bing, which has been in development for several years, enables "people to find information quickly and use the information they've found."

The site's home page features a box that, when text is entered, responds with a list of useful web pages. While the approach may seem familiar to Google's, Microsoft believes Bing will fill a necessary gap in the search market.

Can Bing succeed?

Bing has several new features including a "guided search", which quickly categorises searches and collects useful information.

The system also displays news and maps to users straight away, as well as linking to Microsoft's Cashback scheme - which effectively pays users a small dividend every time they buy a product through Bing.

Paul Stoddart, Microsoft's UK search chief, said: "It's important to challenge and evolve the search market... there is much more that people can and should expect."

Critics are doubtful about Bing's future. Danny Sullivan, the editor of SearchEngineLand website wrote: "If you're expecting Bing to be a Google-killer, reset your expectations.

"The most dramatic change, in my view, remains the name itself"