Bing Desktop is a free program by Microsoft that aims to bring the company's search engine to the Windows desktop. The review could stop right here as that's all there is to know about the program, but I'd like to dive a bit deeper into it nevertheless.
When you install Bing Desktop, a 2 Megabyte download by the way, you will receive a configuration screen after installation where you may accidentally or willingly change a couple of system settings. All options are enabled by default and will have the following effect when not unchecked:
The program will automatically display those options in the local language, even if you select the English version download.
Bing Desktop launches on the system as a small toolbar that you can move around. It features a search the web form which you can use to search the Internet using Microsoft's Bing search engine. Once you start typing you will notice that the program displays suggestions to you automatically that you can make use of to quickly select one of the suggestions with the mouse or keyboard.
Here you can also disable the search history or clear it instead if you do not want it turned off completely.
The icon next to search opens a desktop wallpaper menu where you can select one of the latest Bing wallpapers as the desktop background. This can actually be quite useful, even though you could as well visit the Bing website manually to download and set the wallpaper of the day posted on the site manually on your system.
The icon next to that displays top and popular news. This is again localized more or less even if you have selected to download the English version of Bing Desktop. You can switch between top and popular news, and individual articles using the two icons at the bottom of the news screen. Only one teaser is displayed at a time, a click takes you to the online magazine the news was posted on.
The last icon displays a settings menu. Here you can change the the default search engine that the software uses which not only affects searches but also news and other contents displayed in the program. The US version of the news application for instance displays trending images and top videos on top of top news and popular now.
Here you can also change the Bing Desktop theme from black to blue, green or purple, find out about and disable the shortcut Windows-y that minimizes or maximizes the interface and puts the focus on its search form, and to disable the auto start of the program with the Windows operating system.
Bing Desktop is available for all Microsoft operating systems from Windows XP to the very latest versions. It may be useful to you if you use Bing as your main search engine and do not have the browser open all the time. The application is very responsive and should not slow you down or your system when it is running.
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