Steve Ballmer announced Bing officially in California today at the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD conference, known as D7. Also known as the "Decision Engine," it is designed as a search engine that categorizes more aspects of a travel, shopping or other type of search than its previous version, Microsoft LiveSearch. PC World describes features of Bing, whose internal working name was Kumo, the Japanese word for "cloud." The service is meant to help people in an intelligent and responsive way, organizing search results and simplifying every day tasks. The "Explore Pane" sits on the left, offering a feature called "Web Groups," which "organizes search results not only in the pane bt also in the actual results generated on the page."

For example, a search for restaurants in New York city can be further narrowed by cuisine, hours, ambience, etc. Once one of these is selected, it affects the organization of the main search page.

AllThingsD's "Bing" demo shows other parts of the user interface such as Best Match, a preferred site search result. Instant Answer responds to questions that require empirical data - an "Oscars" query brings up Academy Award winners. Returns also include real time flight information and entries from Encarta, Microsoft's discontinued encyclopedia.

Styled to keep users on the site instead of encouraging the clicking of links, especially for shopping results. In addition to price comparisons and user reviews, the feature "Cashback" gives discount rewards for making purchases directly through Bing.

"Bing vs. Bing" from Reuters points out the frustration currently being experienced by business columnist Stanley Bing. Even though it is not the writer's real name, the author of What Would Machiavelli Do has been using the pen name since 1984. Despite this fact, Reuters projects little possibility of an actual lawsuit.

There is an entire Silverlight-based "Discover Bing" site to learn more. The service goes live on June 3.