Bing Bar Features Bing Rewards, Maps, and More

Toolbars seem to get a bad rap from many Internet users, as they are seen as more of a nuisance than anything else. While some toolbars are thought to do nothing more than add clutter to a computer screen, Microsoft hopes to change that reputation with the recent release of its new Bing Bar. Bing Bar 7.0 comes with several upgrades and integrated features that Microsoft hopes will attract users who previously opposed toolbars.

Instead of packing the newest Bing Bar with worthless filler features, Microsoft decided to integrate many popular and widely used features into the toolbar to actually make it useful. The Bing Bar allows users to browse as they normally would while giving them the option to monitor other online features with little hassle. The convenience provided by Bing Bar makes it a valuable tool for web surfers.

Bing Bar’s Facebook integration could very well be its most attractive feature. Users can keep an eye on their Facebook for any new status updates, messages, photos, and more without having to navigate to the actual site. This is just one example of the convenience that Bing Bar provides. Instead of having to visit Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc., users can access their email accounts directly through Bing Bar. Users can add various accounts for each email provider, and they can also consolidate the accounts as well to see multiple accounts at the same time.

Besides Facebook and email, Bing Bar also integrates various informative features. It has a news button that displays breaking stories around the world and across various categories. The bar’s weather button can be used to get accurate weather updates and forecasts. The finance button offers current stock prices and financial news. For navigational reference, there is a maps button for directions and more. If you are looking for what’s playing in your local theater, the movies button will display movie lineups and schedules.

Bing Bar also provides users with entertainment options. The videos button offers access to short video clips, music videos, and news, just to name a few. Games are also an option, as the games button allows for quick access to a variety of web-based games.

Other Bing Bar features are headlined by the most obvious of them all, Bing Search. If you need to translate items on a web page, the translation button can help. Bing Rewards is the toolbar’s final feature. Bing Rewards is a loyalty program that Microsoft instituted to give Windows, Internet Explorer, and Bing users the chance to earn credits for using the company’s services. The credits earned can be redeemed for gift cards, products, or donated.

Beyond its variety of integrated features, Bing Bar also comes equipped with a new look that matches with Internet Explorer 9. Bing Bar works with the Windows XP (SP3), Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems. At this time, it is only offered to those using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 or above.

For more on this topic, visit http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-20032892-75.html.

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