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Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services, Inc.
8494 Boulder Hills Dr.
Niwot, Colorado 80503 USA
Tel: 303.772.7095
Skype: Mary.Ellen.Bates
Bing,the search engine formerly known as Microsoft Live Search, has surfaced a number of its advanced search commands. Some of these are new, some simply haven't been publicized. You can see some of Bing's features in its Advanced Operator Reference, a minimalist page that lists operators and, with another click, gives a brief description and example of when the operator could be used.

Following are a list of four Bing commands I find particularly useful; note that they all require a colon immediately following the last letter of the operator.

  • Contains: specifies that any page retrieved has links to specific file types. Syntax is contains:files_type Example: apiculture contains:ppt This is not a search within pages of those file types; the example here is looking for pages that both contain the word "apiculture" and have links to files with the .ppt extension. Other file type extensions you can search for include doc, pdf, ppt, rtf, txt and xls.

  • HasFeed: specifies that any page retrieved has a link to an RSS feed on the page. Syntax is feed: Example:apiculture hasfeed: As with the contains: command, this isn't searching within RSS feeds; this search finds pages with RSS feeds on them.

  • LinkFromDomain: identifies all the outgoing links on a specific domain, optionally limited to a particular topic. Syntax is linkfromdomain:a_domain_name To find some tutorials on renewable energy, for example, you might search for pages that are linked-to from and that also have the phrase "renewable energy" -- "renewable energy".

  • Norelax: lets you specify that all your search terms, not just the first four, be included in the query. Syntax is norelax:search_word Use this operator to indicate to Bing that all words in your query must be weighted equally. This tells Bing not to "relax" its Boolean AND for the fifth and subsequent words in a query. If, for example, you are creating a more complex query and want to ensure that Bing treats all words as mandatory, you could search "west nile" mosquito non-toxic norelax:spraying, using norelax: to make the search word spraying mandatory.

While I still don't expect to use Bing as my default search engine, I've gained a lot more respect for its search capabilities, and I know when I'll use it in the future.
June 2010
Bing Gets Smart
by Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services

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