You've gotta hand it to Microsoft. After being literally suffocated by Google in the search market, it has managed to bounce back in a big way with Bing. And it's because of things like this latest batch of updates Microsoft just revealed. The software giant has presented more value in its search results by trying to integrate multimedia content directly into the search engine, so users don't even have to leave the results page.
This means if you search for "Susan Boyle" on Bing, you'll be able to play Youtube videos or stream music tracks from her latest album in just a couple clicks.
"Why would an end user, if you are neck to neck on search quality, use Bing? That's the question we ask ourselves every day," said Microsoft's Bing chief Satya Nadella in a Wired interview.
And here's the latest answer the Bing team has come up with:
- New iPhone/Android apps, with a "Windows Phone 7" aesthetic
- Make restaurant reservations via OpenTablet.com from the results page
- Take virtual tours of places in Bing's map search results
- Further support for HTML5
- Results page graphics vary depending on search type (music, movies, vacations, etc)
- Searches for non-theatrical movies will focus on Netflix and streaming sources
- New interface for image search
And the biggest addition - integration with Facebook. When users pop in a search, it will now not only look all across the Web, but also into the individual user's Facebook feeds to see if there are relevant results on their friends' Wall posts or user information. Search results will also become "smarter" by tailoring them to your "Likes" and preferences on Facebook.
Bing now commands 11.8% of the US search engine market. That's a far cry below Google's domineering lead, but considering Microsoft carried less than 6% of the market just a year and a half ago, that's pretty impressive. The search engine space is one that's very inflexible and hard to shift, but Microsoft is managing to make that happen.