Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, went live last night. I haven't had a chance to run any tests comparing it to Google, but a simple search or two suggests that it will likely produce comparable results.
I'm certainly pleased that it knows that a search for "slaw" should cause our site to rise to the top of the results pack:
If you hover your cursor over a search result, a graphic appears to the right, and hovering over that brings up a popup with text from a (recent? latest indexed?) sample page — but not necessarily, it would seem, more of the text from the result you hovered over. MS needs to clarify this, and, I'd say, make the feature more obvious.
I have to wonder why even a company as powerful as Microsoft would fling itself at a market that is so ably occupied by a giant that works, and works well. It's one thing to try to solve the natural language search market (Powerset), or to aim to provide detailed answers to difficult questions (Wolfram/Alpha); but to compete with Google and Yahoo! for a piece of the general search market seems not worth the effort. Still, search engines keep getting created (and failing: Cuil): there's a new one, Blekko, now in stealth mode, so it's unclear whether it's a straight-ahead search-the-web project or something seeking a niche.