Microsoft's plans for Bing in the UK
The UK site lacks features such as Web Groups, which groups results in intuitive ways both on the Explore Pane and in the actual results, and Quick Tabs, which is essentially a table of contents for different categories of search results.
Also missing is price comparison for things like hotel rooms and aircraft fares, though these will roll out here. We assume that a lot of the natural language options will improve.
However, we will see shopping information and price comparison courtesy of the Microsoft-acquired site Ciao – in major European countries at least.
As we know, the UK offering will improve. Microsoft Search Lead Paul Stoddart told us on Friday that he believes we'll eventually get a better Bing as a result. "The US product is obviously more evolved and we are making it clear that UK Bing will launch in beta," said Stoddart. "But we have engineers committed to making the UK product fantastic and perfect for the market.
"Obviously between the US and the UK markets not everything is applicable. We have 60 engineers in Soho concentrating on making Bing the best search engine for the British market."
So the message? Bing is good, but it will get a whole lot better. But so will Google, and with forthcoming search innovations such as Google Squared as well as completely integrated services such as Google Maps and Calendar, Bing has its work cut-out. We'll be using it all this week as our main search engine – and we'll let you know how we get on.
And, if you're interested, Microsoft is also staging a live Bing webcast today at 1800 BST, 10am PST.