Bing now a serious challenger to Google

Bing has added valuable tools and fun technology making it a formidable Google competitor.

Given undistinguished history of Microsoft's late and unlamented Live Search engine, the predecessor to Bing, it's easy to dismiss Redmond as a hapless also-ran in the search market. But given the vast sums of money and resources that Microsoft is investing in its fledging Google challenger, this could change in a hurry.

Launched in May, Bing initially received a tepid response; some critics essentially called it Live Search with a new coat of paint. But Microsoft is nothing if tenacious. (Old-timers will recall how badly the early versions of Windows stank before Redmond finally found success with version 3.0.) The company has been steadily upgrading Bing since May, including some pretty useful innovations announced Wednesday.

One new and noteworthy upgrade is the inclusion of search results from Wolfram Alpha, an oddball, "computational knowledge" search tool that's probably too geeky for the average user. When integrated with a mainstream query engine, however, Wolfram Alpha algorithms prove their mettle by returning actionable data rather than just a page of links. Microsoft provides a few examples on its Bing blog. Search for "bmi," for instance, and Bing displays Wolfram Alpha's body mass index calculator at the top of the results page.

It's debatable whether Bing is gaining market share, however, or simply spinning its wheels. According to online data service Experian Hitwise, Bing's share of U.S. Web searches rose to 9.57 percent in October 2009, up from 8.96 percent in September. Of course, Bing was still a distant third behind Google (70.6 percent) and Yahoo (16.14 percent).

Flash back to May, and Microsoft Live Search had 9.9 percent of the U.S. search market, according to Nielsen Online. Not a lot of improvement there, despite Microsoft's extensive and expensive Bing marketing blitz.

If you're a diehard Google Search fan, don't hate Bing. Embrace it. Because Microsoft's nipping at Google's heels will only make the world's dominant search engine that much better. In fact, it appears that Google is already playing catch-up. Last month it launched a new tool called Similar Images, a feature that's very much like one first seen in Bing and Live Search. (To be fair, Similar Images was first launched in test mode in Google Labs in April.)

Bing hasn't amazed anyone yet--and it may very well have to if it hopes to grab significant market share from Google. And let's not forget that Google has the resources and determination to match and surpass any of Bing's enhancements.   This fight should be fun to watch.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesearch enginesbing

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?