Microsoft Planning Google-Like Instant Search Results: Report

Microsoft is planning to introduce instant search results, similar to Google's, into the HTML5 version of Bing, according to the latest rumors.

Microsoft is planning to integrate instant search results into the next version of its Bing search engine, according to the latest rumors. That innovation would mirror a similar one launched by Google in 2010 and represent yet another escalation in the search battle between the two companies.

According to a March 6 posting on the blog Winrumors, Microsoft is readying an HTML5 version of Bing for release in conjunction with the Internet Explorer 9 rollout, with instant search as a new feature. "The instant search will allow page elements to automatically transition as the user types their search query into the Bing box," suggests the posting. "Microsoft will make HTML5 Bing available as a beta preview version around the same time as Internet Explorer 9 is available."

Meanwhile, a preview Website for the HTML5 version of Bing mentions a handful of new features, including "Search previews as you type" and "animations that make search come alive" as well as "seamless transitions between pages." Internet Explorer 9 beta, Google Chrome and Apple's Safari 5 will support the preview version of Bing, which doesn't seem available for downloading at this time (the preview Website itself also seems to be experiencing some issues; a cached version can be found here).

Aside from that Website, Microsoft is staying officially quiet about any upcoming Bing features.

"We are always looking at new ways to improve the Bing user experience and are continually testing new features internally," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote to eWEEK in a March 7 e-mail. "We don't have anything further to share at this time."

Microsoft has aimed to buttress Bing with a variety of new features designed to make it more competitive with not only Google, but also Websites such as Groupon. Earlier this month, Bing's Mobile Website introduced a "Deals" tab that offers local discounts; desktop Bing users will see a green "Deals" icon alongside certain nearby businesses.

Bing also recently upgraded its Travel Price Predictors with an auto-suggest feature for airline travel fares, with the ability to predict the best flight price over the next 90 days, using airfare schedules and pricing collected from airlines by ITA software. Microsoft also announced a partnership with Kayak to fuel search results from multiple cities, airports and airlines.

The focus on building a presence in verticals such as travel, as opposed to focusing solely to beat Google head-to-head in traditional keyword search, is part of Bing's strategy for slowly gaining mind and market share. The addition of instant search results would inevitably increase the perception of the company as increasingly willing to combat Google in a more direct manner.