No surprise that Microsoft's Bing team should focus on the entertainment vertical by hosting a star-studded news event in Los Angeles hosted by Ryan Seacrest.
Changes include moving Quick Tabs from the left-hand rail to under the "answer bar" (this is the search box) atop the Bing Website:
But the big news is the launch of the Bing Entertainment vertical, as Microsoft Bing Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi noted:
"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 Bing. Or, if you prefer a browsing, discovery oriented experience, also make that easy to, just visit http://www.bing.com/entertainment."
Let's do that:
How crisp that looks! Click on the Music category and you can easily access full lyrics to artists' songs. Soon, users will be able to connect to Zune to listen to tunes they find in Bing Entertainment.
The Games section is also fresh, letting users search games and click to access them and invite others to play.
TV and Movie listings are also vastly improved over what you'd find on Google. After all, this vertical is devoted to entertainment.
I will definitely try out Bing Entertainment for a week or two to see how I like it. Google Discover Music is a nice stab at music search, but Google doesn't have anything like this.
To all of these changes, I say good luck, Bing. Unfortunately, you could roll out a Jesus vertical but you still won't catch Google, even powering Yahoo and tacking on their search share to close the gap.
Bing's share is somewhere between 9.43 percent and 12 percent, depending on whose stats you believe and whether or not you cut out the contextual shortcuts and slideshows that rack up search queries.
People in the know also say the industry is also shifting, albeit ever so slowly, to services such as Hunch, Aardvark and the new, cash-laden Quora from top Facebook engineers.
Personally, I think that's what investors tell the journalists as a means to justify their investments in technologies they like. And journalists write the stories that way because they are given prebriefings or scoops hyped by companies as the next Google or Facebook.
Google's search share hasn't declined, and I haven't seen hard data to suggest people other than Silicon Valley insiders use these newfangled Q&A Websites.
Either way, Bing isn't getting on the Q&A boat yet, though I expect it to, and it certainly isn't going to post great gains versus Google via entertainment search.
It's a nice vertical, but what is it worth at the end of the day versus Google? One percent at best? Bing has been around for one year and has managed to grow from 8 percent to maybe 10 percent-plus. Not bad, but not world-beating either.