My first impressions of the new Bing Bar (v7) for Internet Explorer are positive. I know that it is 2011 but there are just some things that browsers don’t do well at or that not everyone needs. One way to address these shortcomings have been toolbars that usually slow down the browser. This Bing Bar seems faster than other toolbars and is fairly minimal with IE9.
Some things available for the Bing Bar are Facebook integration of news feed, messages, and notifications. It also has integration with Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail with multiple accounts for each type available. Check the weather at a glance from the toolbar. I think it’s worth a shot, especially for those not already using an alternative browser such as Firefox, Chrome, or Opera.
Try now for IE7+ http://www.discoverbing.com/toolbar/
Now to my thoughts on why this is a good move for everyone. Competition gets companies to get away from a comfortable environment and change the way they think. Microsoft was, and in most ways still is, the leader in browser usage. They stopped advancing their browser and focused on other core features to Windows. As other browsers such as Firefox and then Chrome started taking market share, it forced Microsoft to analyze what was missing from their browser (mostly, it was extremely slow). Internet Explorer 9 is close to release and improves speed substantially.
This Bing Bar is another product of competition where Microsoft wants to gain some market in search while offering a compelling reason for computer users to switch to Bing. It provides functionality in a different format than other browsers provide. Chrome does has notifications for Gmail messages, but it done through Gmail settings. Microsoft taking a step to include other companies’ mail services indicates to me that they realize that they aren’t the choice of everything for everyone, but maybe they can be the key to integrating everything.
A note on the Bing stealing results from Google: the Bing Bar is probably the cause for this but is something you agree to when you say “make my experience better.” If it bothers you then make sure to uncheck that option. This goes for everything including Google.