Bing Bar gives you quick access to Microsoft's Bing search tools from inside the Internet Explorer browser.
While previous versions supported both Firefox and Internet explorer, this latest version only supports Internet Explorer 7 and up. Once you have the tool bar installed, there will be a bunch of shortcuts to Microsoft's services. One nice addition is Facebook integration, which allows you to use Facebook Chat and to 'Like' webpages.
For search, the Bing Bar auto-populates search terms as you type. The search bar can even be set to show answers within the pop-up window, rather than having to go to the results page. Other features in the Bing Bar, like weather, stocks, and news, can all be accessed without opening another tab. A window drops down when clicked, and you can interact with each section without loading a new web page.
There's much more to Bing Bar than just search. The toolbar can also be used to check the latest news, get weather forecasts, and watch the trending videos from the web. Bing Bar also integrates nicely with Microsoft's Live services, giving you notifications of latest Hotmail emails, and allowing you to access Windows Live features such as photos, calendar, groups, etc. There is also a new option to sign up for a rewards program for using the Bing Bar.
You can download additional apps for your Bing Bar in the settings. You can also enable and disable notifications for specific applications. Additional applications are limited, but a few cool ones include a translator and movie times app.
Microsoft has also gotten rid of the security features in the previous version of the Bing Bar. This makes sense as to why Microsoft now requires Internet Explorer be the only browser to run the Bing Bar, since security features built into IE are pretty good.
Users should also note that the Bing Bar is very focused on the United States so many news stories and features may not be relevant in every country.
The Bing Bar is surprisingly useful, especially with Facebook integration. There are enough applications bundled with the Bing Bar to make it a truly great productivity tool.