Google has become synonymous with search, but when it comes to furniture shopping, the site may be selling its users short. On a whim, I decided to give Bing a try in order to aid in my search for the perfect vanity table. For the uninitiated, vanity or dressing tables epitomize the height of old Hollywood glamour, but really they’re just a nice table and stool women use for getting dolled up.
I already knew what sort of set I wanted—art deco and built from wood—but the ones Google pulled up in regular search left me wanting. Switching over to Google Images helped somewhat, but the process of clicking a picture, closing it out, and then having to navigate the new site was getting tiresome.
That’s when I got the idea to try Bing. MSN’s search rival has caught its fair share of flak for having fewer “plugged-in” users, a clunkier system and a bad habit of turning up irrelevant information. And while some of that is true to an extent, the site’s Image section is much more intuitive for shopping and doing your research. Here’s why:
An attractive results page. Shoppers want to see what they’re buying, and the best way to get ideas is by looking at pictures. Not only is Bing’s quality more crisp to my eyes, on the site, users have the option of breaking down searches by various search terms shown atop the page. Some were throwaways (“Vanity tables for sale”), but others like “DIY vanity table” turned up some helpful results. You can also search by Related Topics on the right-hand side.
Clicking photos doesn’t bump you off the site. Bing keeps it simple by showing the image on the left-hand side, a series of search terms on the right, and the site where the image originally appeared underneath. That’s right, you can scroll down to view the site without abandoning your search since you don’t have to leave the page.
Bonus: Bing replaces its search terms from the previous page with a clickable banner of photos, so you don’t have to go back to view your search or start over.
More ways to shop. A lesser-known feature of Bing is its Shopping tab, which is also quite useful for researching. Here you can search by site, price, brand and set type, or just click an image to view an item that caught your eye in more detail.
Bing will either boot you to the site where the item is being sold or take you to a page that shows a product description, a list of comparable items sorted by price and stores that are selling the product nearby.
Again, the site shows a banner of images up top, so you can easily click and view others.
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