Bing Desktop is beautiful and annoying

Last week, Microsoft quietly released a public beta of Bing Desktop, a toolbar that brings Bing searches to your desktop (as long as it’s Windows 7, at least -- the program isn’t available for earlier versions of Windows).

And if that’s not quite enough to interest you, then the program can also double as a wallpaper changer, with its option to download and use the daily Bing image.

Bing Desktop’s implementation seems a little odd, at first. The program runs all the time, for instance. That’s not unusual in itself (and it’s only using 7-8MB of RAM), but its icon wastes valuable real estate on your taskbar, rather than living in the system tray. And the search bar itself looks like a regular desktop window, so you may try to reposition it, but this isn’t possible: it’s pinned to the center of the screen, for no obvious reason other than to annoy people.

It turns out that the interface issues can be largely addressed with a quick settings change, though, fortunately. Choose the option to pin the bar to the top of your screen and its icon will disappear from the taskbar. And you can call the bar up simply by moving your mouse cursor to the top of the screen (in the center) and clicking, a much more sensible arrangement.

Otherwise, the program works as you’d expect: type in a keyword or two, and you’ll be offered the usual search suggestions to help you out. Choose one or click Enter and your browser will open with any results. Nothing outstanding, then, but it all works well enough, and if you’re already a fan of the search engine then Bing Desktop should be a welcome addition to your PC.

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