Microsoft unveiled some key enhancements to Bing on Thursday.
The software giant is pushing out updates to its search pages that will allow users to share their location and find restaurants and local businesses nearby. Bing currently uses location based awareness on its Windows Phone 7 application but is now porting this awareness to its bing.com results.
Previously in Bing if you wanted to search for a Pizza restaurant nearby then you’d have to supply your location, i.e. “Pizza in London”. Bing will now adapt its search query based on your location. “Today, I can simply type “Pizza” and Bing will immediately recognize where I am, in this case Seattle, and provide a link to a popular local pizza place directly in the results,” says Adian Crook at Microsoft’s Bing team.
Microsoft is also improving search results based on a users search history. “We know about 30% of queries are “navigational” queries – meaning a user is trying to find a particular website like Facebook, Expedia, or the New York Hilton,” says Crook. Bing hopes to use these queries to improve future search results. If a user tries to re-find a site they previously found in Bing then the relevant result is promoted to the top position of the page.
Bing searches increased 21% in January 2011 according to recent figures from Experian. Experian’s figures match recent comScore figures that show Bing’s overall search volume in 2010 increased by 29%. The software giant’s “decision engine” now has 12% U.S. market share compared to Google’s 66.6% according to data from comScore. Yahoo’s market share dipped to 16% in December from 16.4% in November. Microsoft’s Bing search has increased its share consistently over the past few months. Bing grew faster in October than Google and Bing continues to rise in December.