Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Bing Keeps the Changes Coming–But Is It Working?


It certainly is good to see Microsoft working the innovation thing, especially in the consumer space with its Bing search service.

The ultimate goal is to gain market share for Bing, from striking deals with hotter companies like Twitter and Facebook to doing a massive advertising and marketing campaign to making constant feature upgrades.

This is one of those weeks for Bing, which started off yesterday by renaming its video properties on MSN, now integrated with search, to Bing Videos. Microsoft also rejiggered its Bing Maps.

And today, the company is rolling out more features, including integration related to diet and nutrition with fancy search service Wolfram|Alpha, an “enhanced hover preview” and full-page weather and events results to add to its niche search offerings.

But whether all this will spell significant changes in market share compared to dominant rival Google (GOOG) is still an open question, with Microsoft (MSFT) eking out solid gains since Bing launched.

Today, Hitwise figures have Bing up seven percent to 9.57 percent in October, at the expense of both Google and Yahoo (YHOO).

Money is also coming in slightly better. A recent report by IDC noted that Bing’s search revenue has gained 6.1 percent to 6.8 percent from the second-to-last quarter.

But spending on advertising, as well as these new features, is also costly.

Still, Microsoft is pressing on.

The Wolfram feature, for example, adds a nutrition quick tab when searching on food items, as well as a body-mass index tool.

Here is a video on it from Bing, which might require installation of Microsoft’s Silverlight video technology (you might also want to launch full screen to see it better):

Bing will also improve the ability of users to get quick info by hovering over a link. Frankly, this annoys me more than bad clicks, but most people will probably like seeing snapshots of the actual Web sites, a search-within-this-site box and deep links.

Perhaps the most interesting iteration of this feature will be Facebook page previews. Click on arrow below:

The weather stuff is just more, more, more bells and whistles, integrating news, events, xRank results, Twitter feeds, images, Best Match results and content from sites you trust onto one page with a prettier interface. Check it out:

There will be more to come, of course, which should–at the very least–have competitors competing better.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo