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Microsoft Replaces MSN/Live Toolbar With Bing Bar [groovyReview]

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Only shortly after replacing Live Search,  Bing has grown by leaps and bounds.  The next step in the Bing campaign is to replace the Windows Live and MSN Toolbars with Bing’s very own “Bing Bar.”  As they update current toolbar clients, Microsoft is hopeful to convert new users from other toolbars as well.  The Bing bar is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all your search needs, let’s look how it measures up.

The Bing Bar is a bit larger and demands more resources than previous MSN and Live toolbars, but it packs a larger set of features too.  Let’s look at how to set it up and then take a tour of some of these Bingtastic features.

Bing bar is big!  Bing bar is pretty!  Is Bing Bar useful?

How To Download And Install The Bing Tool Bar

Finding the Bing Toolbar download wasn’t easy… While searching Google and Bing for, it there was no direct download link to be found anywhere!  If you manually navigate the Bing site you can eventually find it at: http://www.discoverbing.com/toolbar/

1.   Click the FREE Download button and then run the newly downloaded setup file.

how to find the bing bar site, I can't find the bing bar download link anywhere!

2.   Select your installation options and language.  I recommend turning off the Improve my experience option, as it doesn’t add anything special.  Leaving it enabled will allow Microsoft to track all of your visited websites and personal information.

A note on privacy:

Green light on the Microsoft privacy policy. It’s probably one of the best out there when stacked up against Google, Facebook and Yahoo!. The only paragraph that caught my eye was:

We may also disclose personal information as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of assets.

Merger or Sale of assets, makes sense.  After all, why would someone by an online service if  the members / users of the service don’t go with it?  Like I said, Privacy Policy is one of the best out there.  A far leap from the “Do no Evil but… that’s an old soap box we don’t need to discuss now. Anyway, back to Bing Bar!

how to install bing toolbar, and disable the improve my experience feature.

3.   Rather than being a full-blown packaged installer, the Bing Bar setup file downloads all of the installation files later.  You’ll have to wait through the download to install process, it can take a few minutes.

bing bar can take some time to download, this makes for great opportunity to check out more groovypost articles

Alright, Bing Bar should now be installed!  Keep in mind if you have both Firefox and Internet Explorer on your PC then it will automatically install Bing Bar on both browsers.  (I didn’t test chrome so feedback in the comments appreciated on that one)!  The Toolbar can easily be disabled for either browser, but it’s rather annoying it doesn’t ask which to install to.

A Tour Of Microsoft’s New Bing Bar (Toolbar)

The first thing you want to do to take full advantage of all of Bing’s features is sign in to your Windows Live account.  You’ll find the sign-in button at the right-side of the Bing Bar.

sign in to bing bar using your windows live ID

With Bing Bar you can easily check the 5-day forecast for your area.  This is my favorite tool on the Bing Bar, because if you Click Options it will bring up a City or Zip search for new cities.  Bing Bar will remember your location searches and you can easily revisit them and instantly view weather for multiple areas.  Notice that the background on the weather forecast will change to a starry sky background when it is night-time.

view the weather in multiple cities instantly with the bing bar

The news tab will pull up a huge assortment of different news in RSS style.  It will give you brief excerpts of each story and Clicking  Read More will take you directly to the news story page.  It makes a good newspaper replacement, but you can’t wrap your glass dishes in it when you’re moving residences.

view news and entertainment from the bing bar

The hotmail bar is nifty, it will alert you whenever you have new mail and it will also give you the sender name and subject of each mail.  Windows Live toolbar previously had this same feature, but the new hotmail icon will now glow and display the exact number of new mail sitting in your inbox.

seee how many new hotmail messages you have from the bing bar

There is a much larger assortment of buttons packaged with Bing Bar than previous Microsoft toolbars.  Also new is the ability to drag and drop these buttons to and from the bar itself.

drang n drop buttons to the bing bar

Included with Bing Bar are a few security features.  There is a Pop-up blocker that so far successfully blocked every single  annoying pop-up during my test runs.  The Phishing protection is enabled by default, it helps protect you from fake sites and the Safe site icon tells you when you are visiting a dangerous website.

bing bar includes pop-up and phishing protection

Private Browsing is available through the Bing Bar.  While it wasn’t hard to turn on before, the Bing Bar takes the extra Click or two out of the process of getting into Private mode.

1-click in private browsing with bing bar

Using the Windows Live button you can easily access all of your online Windows Live services.  Although it’s nice to have them all organized in one spot, the old Windows Live toolbar had a button with drop-menu dedicated to Skydrive.  If you use the other features from Windows Live this is great, but Skydrive is still far deserving of it’s own button and for some reason they decided to take that away.

bing bar windows live button lets you access all of windows live features

The search box remains relatively the same, it’s just.. HUGE!  Seeing this will definitely take some getting used to, especially for Firefox users.  While using Firefox, the Bing Bar doesn’t look as good as with Internet Explorer so even though it is the same size (BIG!) it appears to be even larger.  From the options menu you can enable pre-load searching to speed up the load time for top search results.  Pretty groovy.

the bing bar search box is big and unchanged, otherwise

If you want to make the Bing Bar look pretty Click the wrench icon.  There are a few colors to choose from and you can even Enable tints to add secondary colors.  The scenes are fun, notice with the Winter Scene it adds a snowy background near the search box.

change your color theme and scene of bing bar

Overall the new Bing Bar is a groovy improvement over previous Microsoft Toolbars.  Being a recent release, I found a few bugs such as occasional performance issues with your browser but overall, it’s not to shabby.  The arsenal of new features exceed many other toolbars currently available, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like Toolbars then it may not impress you enough to embrace it.

The biggest issue I see with Bing Bar is that they removed the dedicated Skydrive button which was really my only reason for using any Microsoft Toolbar to begin with.  Then again the weather button and other tabs attempt to make up for the difference…

The Bing Bar is available for Firefox 3.0+ and Internet Explorer 6.0+.  The Bing bar isn’t compatible with chrome, think Microsoft might have a grudge?

Try it for yourself! Get the Microsoft Bing Bar

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14 Responses to Microsoft Replaces MSN/Live Toolbar With Bing Bar [groovyReview]

  1. sheilasutherland January 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    I want my old bing bar back. I hate this new one. I have had nothing but damn problems. 10 times today it says repair bing bar. Well my old one was nicer looking and had the same stuff and never once had a problem. Now this new one is one Huge Pain in the…You know what.

  2. MrGroove January 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Out that blows…. sorry to hear that Sheila…… With I had a copy of the old bar! Try a few google searches OOPS, I mean BING searches for the old tooldbar ;)

  3. sheilasutherland January 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    Thank you for reply. I am trying to find the old bing bar but I am having difficulties. My computer is only a 3 months old and have extended warranty. Maybe I can help from the technical assistance.

    PS. I am still having problems. Almost evertime I go into Window Internet Explorer.

  4. Harlan Glawe March 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    Good article. I’ve bookmarked this page so I can follow your updates. Thanks for taking the energy to share this.

  5. Eddy Ho June 26, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    Help how to create for Bing Bar Install Toolbar, cannot how to run this – Not enough memory to continua install

  6. john March 11, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    when i click on my facebook icon, bingbar tries to install. how do i orevent this?

  7. spencer April 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    i hate the new bing bar. nothing was wrong with the old one. i want it back

  8. spencer April 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    this new bing bar is UGLY. i took the update not knowing what it looked like first. ya’ll should let people try before they buy

  9. junebug April 16, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    How can I find the old bing toolbar with the autofill? I hate this new one and uninstalled the old one in error today! I want it back! Can anyone help me find a link to download the old one? thank you, thank you!

  10. Scott Nance November 14, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I am always weary of new products where you don’t have an option… Not all new products are better… You only have one option and that is to click the OK button.

    Congratulations!
    Your new Bing Bar is ready to use.

    By clicking “OK”, you agree to the Microsoft Service Agreement and Privacy Statement. You’ll get future updates to Bing Bar and other Microsoft products from Microsoft Update. This software may also download and install some updates automatically.
    OK

    Keep in the Know – MSN is Your Destination for News, Weather & More!
    Learn More

    .

    .

    • Steve Krause November 14, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      I agree with ya Scott 100%. Granted, Microsoft usually has the best terms of service in regards to privacy and data disclosure (vs. Google, Facebook etc…) however that being said, when it comes to Toolbars I usually don’t install them for those exact privacy concerns.

      Great comment Scott. Thnx for sharing.

  11. Adela December 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Hello Steve, just discovered your useful site today. I’m confused with Google, Bing and Microsoft and hope you could help? You explained nicely about Bing, but, the same as many other programs, they keep changing them thereby causing us waste of time to learn them (and aggravation when we can’t) and they aren’t better. May I ask for your advice on the following?

    When I had IE I had Google and was satisfied. Then I decided to change the browser for Mozilla Firefox and out of the clear blue sky came Bing! I preferred Google, and tried to reinstate it a few times unsuccessfully, but my time is scant so I let it go.

    It appears then that Firefox doesn’t work with Google? If it does, could you show me how to change it to Google? And if this is the case, from what I read today in the net, they changed it so that it isn’t anymore the simple Google I had; instead they made it more complicated and with a lot of stuff that i don’t even care to use; i.e. iGoogle, and other new names.

    If you could help to clarify my confusion I’ll be ever so grateful!

    Adela

  12. frank dela rionda April 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    I do not know how it happened, but I now have the new bing bar and new google search screen. I dont like them how do i get back my old bing bar and google search screen

  13. Adela April 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Okay, I commented on 12-17-11 and didn’t get a response. I now have a new question but I may not get help…(I must be a masochist!).

    Having re-read this article and resigned myself to keep Bing, I now ask:

    Why instead of the Bing bar I have a narrow long bar with the Firefox icon saying only: “abouthome”? And this same narrow line but to the right side and only about one fourth the length, with Bing on it?

    Why do I not have the Bing login button at the right side as the article says?

    Why, right underneath that, I have the Yahoo! bar too? And also this bar, as the Bing bar came out of the blue sky because I’ve never downloaded either of them. It seems like an annoying redundancy to me…or does it have any reason to be here???

    Hope to hear from someone to explain this mystery for me? :) Thanks ever so much! Adela

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