Microsoft Bing will more tightly integrate with Web services providers, and the search engine will improve its coverage in search verticals this spring as it seeks to gain market share from powerhouse Google, a Bing director said.
The idea is to more quickly and accurately connect consumers to popular Web services and applications.
Bing already boasts a travel site that lets users plan trips, book flights and find hotels using several different refinements. Bing also lures users with Bing Cashback, which provides savings for users who buy products from retailers after finding them through Bing.
Soon, as part of its effort to better divine user intent, Microsoft Bing Director Stefan Weitz said Bing will "broker out to different Web services to bring that information and those services back into the page."
Weitz declined to specify what Websites and services Microsoft might feature. The search engine already integrates with Twitter for real-time search, and Wolfram Alpha to provide consumers computational information.
"It's not just about presenting you a trail to go down to where users have to do a lot of work to figure out what they're trying to find. It's about understanding intent, what task that user is trying to accomplish and then building that experience that is specific to that task. For that, we have to do a lot more than index Web pages."
That "lot more" includes aligning itself more closely with popular Web services and e-commerce sites to enrich the user experience. This will make Bing less about finding answers to questions or common queries and more about helping users conduct transactions.
"What we're seeing is a Web of objects," Weitz told eWEEK. "They'll tweet (post a message on Twitter), then go somewhere else and book a cab on RideCharge, or do a query on OpenTable, or whatever it might be. What we're doing now with Bing is looking at those objects and what people are doing on the Web. A lot of people are doing these complex tasks that keyword searches just don't work for and we're tying those things together."
Weitz pointed to the Bing event search page, where users can type in an event and Bing will query against different ticket providers and bring back relevant results. "We're trying to go where people are going to be in a year versus focusing relentlessly on where they are today, or where they are today or where they were a year ago where it was a much more keyword-based approach."
Weitz's message is subtle but clear. While Google has commandeered the search market for the last decade with basic keyword queries, Bing's goal -- and perhaps its best chance for success -- is nudging people toward this new search paradigm.