Microsoft today released a beta version of a tool that looks to replace the Bing Bar for IE, sort of. Called Bing Desktop, this utility provides a Bing search box right on your desktop and automatically updates your desktop wallpaper to the current Bing Picture of the Day, each day.

The appeal of the Bing Picture of the Day is pretty obvious: Anyone who's visited Bing.com knows that the site features a terrific new photo every day.

bing_paris

But what about that desktop search tool?

I don't have a Windows 7 PC handy for testing at the moment, but it looks a lot like the PC and Mac desktop search tools that were popular a few years back, albeit that this one only works with web searches. Presumably, you'll end up in a browser eventually, so it's unclear what the point of this is.

But what the heck. It's probably worth it just for the Bing Picture of the Day.

Bing Desktop Beta comes saddled with all kinds of limitations, unfortunately. It runs only on Windows 7--and no, I couldn't get it to work in Windows 8--and is only available in the United States (for now on both, hopefully), according to Microsoft.

Still interested? You can download Bing Desktop from the Microsoft web site.