Bing Travel, Bing Community, and your Windows Live ID – why are they separate?

Bing! The much-hyped search engine Bing was debuted today worldwide and as a Windows Live (and anything Live or used to be Live-related) enthusiast, I’ve went and tested how well the search engine, I meant, decision engine works. We’ve heard about the good stuff in our previous post, and I’m sure you’ve all heard enough about them already, so I’m going to talk about a little thing I felt annoyed about Bing. Of course, nothing is perfect, so this is more a constructive criticism for Microsoft and I hope the Bing team is listening!

While surfing around the new site, jumping from Shopping to Travel, the experience had been seamless with a consistent UI and it makes me feel like I’ve always been in the same website. However, what I found annoying across the “Bing experience” was the amount of times I have to sign-in. Let’s take a look:

First, we have the main Search page, which utilises Windows Live ID to sign-in. Fair enough, if you’re signed into your Windows Live account already elsewhere, then you should be signed in automatically here. It seems all good:

1_374aa9bd News

But next, I went to Bing Travel (the new Farecast). Thinking that I’d be automatically signed in to my Bing Travel account as well, I was wrong. Clicking “your travel account” on the top-right took me to another sign-in page. Notice that I’m still signed in to my Windows Live ID on the top of the page:

2_15129e37 News

It’s telling me to create a “new” account and asking me to enter my e-mail address and password, when they could’ve just gotten the information from my Windows Live ID (mind you, I’m signed in)! Not a very smart design. And that’s not the end of the story. I went to Bing Community to read the developer’s blogs, and because it’s apparently powered by Community Server, I was prompted to “join the community” again. Another set of sign-up:

 3_thumb_0c9ea313 News

At least this time it’s associated with my Windows Live ID so that the next time I come in, I’ll be automatically signed into Bing Community as well.

The new “Save & Share” feature also doesn’t seem to like me very much at all. Although I am signed in to my Windows Live ID, the Silverlight interface doesn’t seem to want to sign me in so that I could access my very own SkyDrive. Clicking “sign in to access SkyDrive folders” didn’t seem to do the trick for me, and I was left signed out instead. Here’s a screenshot:

4_thumb_2ce60d38 News

So Microsoft, why make life so hard for us to have us sign in four times on the same website? It simply doesn’t make sense. I recall watching a video on Bing at Channel 9 and they emphasised on “integration” – and I clearly don’t see it here.