Microsoft tweaks its search engine, Bing, with updates centered on entertainment such as music, movies, TV and video games. Users can now search more easily for lyrics, listen to 30-second previews of songs through Microsoft's Zune service, find movie listings and play casual games via the Bing site. Previous editions of Bing seemed focused on making the search engine a more robust competitor to Google, but this newest edition seems to reposition Bing as more of a Yahoo-like Web portal. Bing lags behind Google in search engine market share, but has been making incremental gains since its summer 2009 debut.
Microsoft is updating its Bing search engine with features centered on
entertainment such as music and movies, as it seeks to gain a little more
market share from search archrival Google.
Bing's homepage now features an Entertainment tab, which leads to a page
with separate tabs for Music, Movies, TV, Games and Video Games. While previous
additions to Bing, such as Maps, seemed more intended to establish the search
engine as a viable Google competitor, the Entertainment tab tilts the site's
balance more toward the look and feel of a Yahoo-like Web portal.
"In this release of Bing one of the biggest investments we are making
is in the area of entertainment," Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of
Microsoft's Bing unit, wrote June 22 on the
Bing Community blog.
"Working with key groups inside Microsoft that
have deep entertainment heritage, we've made significant investments in four
key areas: Music, Gaming, Movies and TV. Our focus was on making it easy-if you
can type in a search box, you can have a great entertainment experience on
With regard to music,
in the name of an artist or band will return lyrics, photos, videos, tour dates
and streaming songs via Microsoft's Zune service. The first song-play from Zune's
catalog is free; after that, you're limited to 30-second previews, unless you
purchase and download the tune from Amazon.com, Zune or iTunes.
Bing's new gaming section seems bifurcated into two areas: casual games,
which can be played for free via Bing, and the Video
which includes cheats, walkthroughs, official sites and trailers
for console games such as "Batman: Arkham Asylum" and "Red Dead
The TV section offers full-length episodes from over 1,500 shows, some of
them with high-definition content; the Movies area gives the latest movie
showtimes, reviews, synopses and trailers.
Since its launch in summer 2009, when some industry pundits expressed doubts
about its long-term longevity, Bing has been slowly gaining market share from Google-although
the latter's market share, variously estimated at somewhere between 66 and 72
percent, still eclipses
Bing's of between 9.43 and 12 percent.
Last summer's search-and-advertising
deal with Yahoo, which will see Bing powering back-end search on that Yahoo's
Websites, is expected to double Bing's market share.
Features added to Bing over the previous six months include Bing Maps with
Streetside, which offers an eye-level view of local terrain, a Bing Bar for
Internet Explorer and Firefox that places Bing's functionality in a series of
one-click icons beneath the browser's URL bar, and Local Events, which studs a
map with pins showing the day's happenings around a particular location. A
mobile version of Bing recently appeared on the iPhone, and will be integrated
into the upcoming Windows Phone 7.