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Microsoft to update Bing search engine to compete with Google

March 25, 2010 | 12:23 pm

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it will be delivering several updates to its Bing search engine in an attempt to cut into Google's dominant position in the space.

New bing

According to Microsoft, its research has shown that 42% of all Bing queries require some refinements for users to find exactly what they're looking for. Currently, Bing offers a "Quick Tabs" pane to the left of results to help users get to content that might in some way relate to their query. And although Microsoft claims the feature has been popular, it thinks it can do better.

Microsoft plans to test new Bing designs "over the next few months" that will move the Quick Tabs pane to the top of the search page. The company thinks that the modification will help users "make faster, more informed decisions."

One of Bing's core focuses is on real-time data. Currently, the search engine lets users see the latest tweets and Facebook status updates on a particular subject. In order to make real-time data a more present part of its search, Microsoft said that it will begin testing better availability of real-time results. Bing will also start offering real-time content, such as the "most popular shared links," from other sites around the Web.

To improve Bing Maps, Microsoft partnered with location-based service Foursquare to create an app for its mapping tool. Bing Maps users will be able to see Foursquare data, such as mayorships, badges and check-ins, around a particular area.

As exciting as the updates might be for some Bing users, the effect they will have on search market share will probably be minimal. According to market-research firm comScore, Google enjoys more than 65% search market share, while Bing has captured just over 11% of the market. A few updates to design or functionality probably won't be enough for the company to gain significant ground. Historically, catching up to a dominant search provider takes a long time.

In other words, Microsoft is facing an uphill battle in search that probably won't be ending anytime soon.

-- Don Reisinger

twitter.com/donreisinger

Image: A Bing design with Quick Tabs on top. Credit: Microsoft

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