Bing launched a Visual Search beta today that is fun to play with. The name may be a bit misleading–this isn’t an image search engine, let alone one that allows you to find images based on visual similarity. Rather, it’s a graphically intensive (don’t forget to install Silverlight!) way to explore a small data collection.
I agree with Elisabeth Osmeloski at Search Engine Land that the galleries included with this beta launch emphasize novelty over utility. Still, it’s nice to see a visual faceted search application for exploring the periodic table. And it’s an interesting example of micro-IR.