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After 5 years, Bing still trails Google -- but it has other plans

Sharon Gaudin | June 6, 2014
Always the bridesmaid, Microsoft looks to integrate Bing in new 'world of devices'.

Microsoft marked Bing's anniversary this week by looking back and by looking to the future.

"On June 3rd 2009, we debuted to the world with a fresh approach to search..., " wrote the Bing team in a blog post. "A lot has happened since that debut."

The first Bing homepage was an image of Polychrome Pass overlooking Denali National Park. (Image: Microsoft)

The blog pointed out the first Bing homepage and amassed a gallery of their homepage favorites over the past five years.

The Bing Team is also talking about the Bing Platform.

"Finally, so many pieces of technology and talent have come together to where we can begin to realize our science fiction dreams of invisible computing, carefully guiding us, helping us, and making us better in ways that matter to us," the team wrote. "People used to interact with digital interfaces in one way -- on [a] computer monitor. Now, there are dozens of ways with varying levels of capability. We want to reduce these interaction barriers."

Bing, for instance, is being used to put advanced intelligence in Cortana, the fictional artificial intelligent character in the Halo video game series. It's also behind multi-lingual abilities in Facebook and Twitter, and even powers Siri, Apple's intelligent personal assistant for the iOS platform.

"The idea of launching a browser, going to a website, and typing in a search box? That's so 2009," wrote the Bing Team. "As the world of devices constantly changes and new form factors come into play, there will be a need to better use information, either by seeking it out or having it pushed to you, and take action. Bing has shifted its focus to be in position to be the search for this new, changing world."

Olds sees this as a smart move for Microsoft.

Being able to integrate Bing into existing Microsoft offerings, like Windows and Xbox, gives Bing an edge in some ways, according to Olds.

"However, this is dwarfed by the number of ways that Google search has been incorporated into Google services and most other websites," he added. "Microsoft might have a point about search being more about integration and other form factors these days. However, that just highlights another Google strength. Google is a far larger presence in phones and tablets than Microsoft. And Google search is baked into a huge number of apps that require search capability."

If you just look at Bing's public search share, it's certainly not doing so well. However, search is becoming more important to Bing's whole organization.

"If you take a broader view, search is an important technology to the enterprise," said Schubmehl. "Think of Bing as a loss leader in terms of public search, but it provides investment and learning they can use in Windows phone, Xbox and Windows itself."

 

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