Bing gets more social, local

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Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced some big changes for its Bing search engine last week that will make it more social, more local and perhaps more relevant to its users. At a big announcement last week in San Francisco, Microsoft trumpeted some of Bing's successes and announced some big changes coming to the intrepid search engine.

Perhaps most interesting is the increasing sophistication of real-time and social results. In a live blog post from the event, Search Engine Land's Greg Sterling reported that Microsoft sees two different types of results: The web of documents and the social web, which they see as a web of people. These social results, such as what your friends like, live in tandem with other results.

Microsoft also claims that it has figured out how to be what it calls "device intelligent." That means it knows if you're using Bing on your desktop PC or your mobile phone and tailors the results accordingly based on location and device. 

Microsoft describes this process as: "Shaping the results, dynamic presentation of results based on the capabilities of the device, and a recognition of typical user behavior patterns on devices. For example on mobile devices, people's queries are more locally focused and much shorter in duration than on a desktop."

Bing is also doing some built in integration in its local search results with some online services such Open Table for making restaurant reservations and FanSnap to purchase tickets, providing a simple way to take action without making users take extra steps to do it.

All in all, Bing is doing some cool things with search. With around 11 percent of market share, it's not exactly putting fear into search kingpin Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) at this point, but by adding new features and continuing to innovate in this fashion, Microsoft is certainly making good use of Bing to keep Google on its toes. It's looking to match Google feature-for-feature and innovation-for-innovation.

For more information:
- see the Microsoft Bing announcement blog post

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