Bing has a pretty good reputation as a search engine, even if it doesn’t get used as often as Google for performing searches. One advantage Google has often had over Bing is – with the addition of the correct software – it was simple to start a Web search directly from the Desktop. No need to open a web browser, navigate to bing.com, and only then start the search. Simply hit some keyboard combination, type the search, and your web browser would open to the search results page. Simple.
Now, thanks to Bing Desktop you can do something similar, only using Bing as the search engine. You can download Bing Desktop from this link, or you may have already been asked to install it via Microsoft Update. Regardless, once it’s installed, it’s quite handy and easy to use.
You can access Bing Desktop in a couple different ways. The simplest for many people will be typing the Windows Key-H keyboard combination. Just type that and a small search box will appear, pinned to the top of your screen. Simply type your search query and hit the Enter key on your keyboard, and your default web browser will open up, directly (as mentioned) to the search results page.
If the Bing Desktop search box is pinned to the top of the screen, you can also access it by moving the mouse over where the search box will appear. A few pixels of the search box should appear, and the whole search box will reveal itself when you click.
You can also choose to have the search box appear in the middle of the screen (in which case the hover “trick” mentioned above won’t work). In this case, there will be a task bar icon for the Bing Desktop program. To view the search box, simply click the icon (or use the Windows Key-H shortcut mentioned earlier).
Bing Desktop, as mentioned, can also be used to download the Bing home page picture every day. This is handy if you like a lot of nature photography as a backdrop to your work.
There aren’t really a lot of extra options that come along with Bing Desktop, to be honest. Everything that’s there, however, can easily be accessed via a pop-up menu. When the search box is present, simply click the little gears icon, then slide over to the Settings menu. You’ll have four settings available to you. First is whether to pin the search box to the center of the screen, or leave it pinned to the top. Next is the option to start Bing Desktop when you start up Windows. Third is the option to use the Bing home page image as your computer Desktop. Fourth is whether the Windows Key-H shortcut will be used or not.
All in all, Bing Desktop is a pretty handy little application. It doesn’t seem to use a lot of memory, has a nice suggestions feature (you’ll see possible search queries as you begin typing, as shown in a couple of the example screenshots), and the wallpaper downloading, while certainly not a “necessary” feature in a search tool, is a nice bit of Bing integration. Bing Desktop isn’t a required piece of software by any means, but it is worth a look, especially if you use Bing as your search engine of choice.