A new extension designed to integrate seamlessly with both Internet Explorer and Firefox is set up to turbocharge the browser’s search capabilities according to Microsoft. The Redmond-based company has made available for download the Bing Bar, inviting users to think of the toolbar as a virtual assistant capable of keeping them connected and up to date with the latest information/news. At the same time, the Bing Bar is, of course, as the moniker implies, focused on search. The toolbar features a prominent Bing search field, which customers can easily leverage for their queries without actually having to navigate to the Bing home page.
According to Microsoft, the Bing Bar will play nice with the following operating systems: Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows XP with SP2 and SP3. The toolbar integrates with Internet Explorer 8 running on top of these machines, including IE6, IE7 and IE8, but also with Firefox 3.0 and Firefox 3.6, requiring 50 MB of free hard disk space and at least 512 MB of RAM.
An important aspect of the Bing Bar is the fact that Microsoft is essentially turning over the control over customization to users. The Redmond-based company emphasizes that users will be able to personalize the Bing Bar in accordance with their preferences, by not just arranging the features, but also adding new ones.
Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President, Online Services, enumerated some of the key features of the Bing Bar:
“- Search Assist – start typing in the search box and see suggested searches, image suggestions, and your search history. Notice also how as soon as you signal to us that you’re going to ‘search’ we expose the search options (like images, videos, etc) in the bar.
- Browse Plus – sometimes you don’t want to search – you want knowledge and information to come to you. The Bing Bar pulls content from across the web and will even alert you to breaking news when it’s happening. You can also tell the bar to watch things for you – like stocks and sports – and let it handle the searches for you.
- No-Fail Cash Detector: let the Bing Bar help you save money when shopping online. Do a search on a site like craigslist.org and the Bing Bar conducts a ‘search’ on your behalf, figures out if there are merchants where you can get Bing Cashback on that product, and alerts you by flashing the Cashback icon.”