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Bing to Showcase Real-Time Information

At this week’s Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, Microsoft began to lay out enhancements planning for its Bing search engine for the first half of 2010…and they include rolling in more real-time information and most effort to understand the intent of a user’s query so the more relevant information is presented immediately.

“We have a vision for Bing to serve as a vital assistant to your online decision-making,” said Bing’s general product manager Jeff Henshaw, in a statement. “In these latest designs, you’ll see a lighter, cleaner presentation of results that highlight key actions that will efficiently guide you toward your goal.

Part of the enhancement will be an expansion of the Quick Tabs already present in Bing’s “Explore pane”—the Quick Tabs enable users to refine their queries with a single click—and, according to Microsoft, almost half Bing’s users have to make refinements to their queries to get what they want. Bing will be moving Quick Tabs functionality to the top of the Bing search results pages. Bing also announced it will be rolling in real-time search results from services like Twitter, so that when (say) people search for a particular publication, Bing won’t just give users pointers to the publication itself, but also show the most-shared items from that publication in social media services.

Bing also plans to bring “user reputation” service foursquare into Bing’s mapping service, so users can see what customers and users in a particular area have had to say about local businesses, services, and events—along with the reviewers’ foursquare rankings, so users can have a sense whether the information is any good or not.

Microsoft’s efforts to add new features and capabilities to Bing are starting to pay dividends: according to Nielsen, Bing gained search share during February 2010…and, for a change, not all of it came from cannibalizing share from search partner Yahoo. Microsoft and Yahoo have entered into a long-term agreement under which Bing will handle the back-end heavy lifting behind Yahoo search, although Yahoo will continue to develop its own front end and services.

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