June 15, 2009
When starting IE8, after years of seeing the Google home page, I was pleasantly surprised to see a richly detailed full screen photo of a country village in the Swiss Alps. I experienced a nice feeling in that moment.
Search Engine Personal Interface as a Quality of Life Issue
It occurs to me that the search engine home page is a constant companion and a non-trivial part of my home and work environment. Therefore, my emotional and subliminal responses to the search-engine personal-interface are contributing factors to my quality of life. So perhaps it is valuable to devote some thinking to this.
Remember the cool text balloons on the results page? I am finding scattered over the Bing home-page-background-photo several (four or five) mouse-over regions that generate little square windows. If you then mouse-over the square, you get a one sentence text balloon of info related to the photo. A few of these regions are scattered over the photo, so it gives a kind of a virtual tour of the region featured in the photo. Well that’s interesting, and I’ve not finished my coffee so let’s look a bit more.
To the left side of the screen I see a black rectangle titled “EXPLORE.” Below the title a list of categories: Images, Videos, Shopping, News, Maps, and Travel. I get the idea. Categories and kinds of information, ok. Want to click now? Not yet. That would lead me to more exploration than I want to do now.
Now, back to examination of the Bing home page. Across the top of the page I see pull-down menus titled: Tour Bing, MSN, Windows Live, Steven (my first name), United States ,and Extras. The last has a little down arrow icon.
The top line menu titles are mostly self-evident except the Extras arrow. Clicking the Extras arrow I pull-down a menu having the following items: Preferences, Your cashback account, Blogs, Advertising, and some other stuff. Hmmm…ok…what’s under preferences? Click. Ah Ha! We jump to a new page titled “Bing Preferences: General settings that apply to all of your searches.“ It looks like the preferences and settings are important. The settings include the “SafeSearch” offensive-sites-filter settings. Choices for SafeSearch are: Strict, Moderate, and Off. Ok that’s important to know.
Another interesting preference is the /location city and state/ for search results relevant-to-your-desired-location. It seems to need my home or office zip code to help focus searches. That sounds ok, so I change this setting to Palm Springs, CA. Quickly scanning over the other settings, language, language for pages, … etc. Looks ok, now click /save settings/ and we pop back to the Bing home page.
A bit more time left before getting to real work. Hmm … across the bottom of the Bing home page are three more titles: Swiss precision (relevant to the background photo of a Swiss village), European vacation (relevant to the global region of the background photo), and Popular now (listing currently popular searches). These are links to more info, and the meanings are relatively clear. Finally, at the bottom right of the page photo are two small arrows. Clicking sends you to other background pictures for a little variety.
Well, that’s enough for today. Now we have looked over everything on the Bing home page. Time to refill my coffee and get to work.