Microsoft is re-branding its search engine currently called “Live” – as “Bing” as part of a range of steps to make its search technology more appealing to consumers.

Microsoft’s inability to organically increase its share in search was the key driver behind the company’s pursuit last year of Yahoo Inc. (YAHOO). Many investors think Microsoft needs to tap a much bigger audience in order to make its searches more relevant and to attract more advertisers.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled the new search engine at the All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif. The conference is sponsored by the All Things Digital Web site, which, like this newswire, is owned by News Corp. (NWSA). He also said that Windows 7, the next iteration of Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system, might see faster adoption than Vista, the most current version.

Microsoft wanted to be better at Internet search but conceded that it might take years to gain market share, even with the new search product. A strong consumer brand for search was a good starting point.

Bing looks different from its predecessor and rivals’ search engines, with search results displayed on the left hand side of the Web page.
Bing targets four distinct categories of search: shopping, local, travel and health.

Each search will launch a more detailed range of search prompts by category, which attempt to narrow down the consumer’s choices.
Bing also introduces more non-textual content, such as video, to its user interface, And information such as customer service numbers more prominent in search results, and allows customers, by hovering over a search result, to preview a site. Introducing new categories to the search engine could help advertisers reach consumers more efficiently.