As I helped my daughters prepare to go back to school, I couldn’t stop thinking about how different school is for my kids than it was for me. Even the preparation has changed so much! Items I bought for my girls that were not on my back-to-school shopping list when I was a kid? A zip drive and calculator (yes, I am THAT old…when I was entering the fifth grade, my Dad still used a slide rule!). And, our parents didn’t have teacher websites to look up homework assignments, or online grade books to help parents keep tabs on how the kids’ grades look throughout the semester.
But the biggest difference in my kids’ experience with school is the Internet and the sophistication of the search engines available to them. And it’s not just kids. Even parents today can’t make it through a day without our favorite search engine—regardless of whether it is for work or helping the kids with homework.
My search engine of choice is Bing, Microsoft’s highly innovative “decision engine.” Full disclosure: ComBlu has been working with Bing for the better part of this year. If you haven’t checked it out, it is definitely worth a try. Bing was created to be more than just a search engine. It helps users make everyday decisions in a wide variety of categories, including shopping, news, maps, travel, entertainment and more.
Like most Bing users, I just love Bing and all it has to offer. Here are some of the features I like most about using Bing as my decision engine:
Bing Toolbar. The first thing you should do when getting started with Bing is download the Bing Toolbar. The Toolbar provides quick and easy access to a number of Bing tools, such as Facebook alerts, top stories, weather, email, etc. Better yet, the Bing Toolbar travels with you as you search the Internet, so it’s always at your fingertips. Here is what it looks like:
Bing Rewards. Another thing I just love about Bing is that I earn credits toward rewards simply by using Bing as my search engine and trying out some of the new features. I’m not sure what I will reward myself with first—I’m currently just letting my points accrue while I make up my mind. Below is a screenshot of Bing Rewards that shows the wide variety of rewards available:
Bing Travel. My favorite feature with Bing Travel is the price predictor and rate indicator. The price predictor tells you the best time to purchase airline tickets, showing you which airfares are likely to go up or down (it actually tells you whether to “buy now” or “wait”). The rate indicator helps you get the best deals on hotels, telling you whether it’s a deal, not a deal or an average deal. This is particularly helpful when you are shopping for a room at hotel chain you are unfamiliar with or in a new city. Here is what the price predictor and rate indicator looks like:
Bing Shopping. Bing Shopping is great because it allows you to shop multiple retailers at the same time to find the best deal. As you’re shopping, you can make a shopping list so you don’t lose any of the items you like as you browse for bargains. I loved using Bing Shopping for back-to-school; it was a real time-saver. Here’s a snapshot from the Back to School shopping page:
Clearly, Bing has been and will continue to be a part of my kids’ back-to-school plan. With all of those research reports coming up, I’ve made Bing my default search engine so the kids will help me accrue points toward Bing rewards while they are simply completing their school work.
Give Bing a try for yourself…it may just change the way you think about search engines. And please share your favorite features—I’m always looking for more to love on Bing!