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3/26/2010
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Bada Bing: Microsoft In Search Comeback

Bing upgrades have Redmond on the road to recovery in search market while the competition stagnates.

Microsoft's efforts to promote and revamp Bing appear to be paying off, as the search engine has enjoyed steady gains in the U.S. market since its launch in June 2009.

Microsoft's share of U.S. search traffic increased to 11.5% in February from 10.7% in January, according to the most recent figures from market watcher comScore. Yahoo, currently the number two player in the market, saw its share fall from 17% to 16.8% over the same period.

Market leader Google, meanwhile, enjoyed an increase of just .1%, from 65.4% in January to 65.5% in February, comScore said.

Microsoft's gains in search are in part due to its steady efforts to publicize and upgrade Bing. The company this week announced yet another slew of enhancements to the search engine.

Most notable is an upgrade to the Quick Tabs feature, which delivers results based on what the search engine believes is the intent of the user's query. For instance, a search on "Barcelona" yields tabs that give users one-click access to weather, news, and travel information related to the Spanish city.

Going forward, the information delivered through Quick Tabs will be displayed much more prominently, said group product manager Todd Schwartz, in a blog post.

"Over the next few months we are going to test some new design concepts moving Quick Tabs functionality to the top of the page for 1-click access to our most robust, visual, and organized pages," wrote Schwartz.

Microsoft also plans to enhance Bing's ability to deliver real-time information. For instance, a new feature will connect users who search for a particular news source, such as USA Today, not only to the main site but also to links to the most popular stories, based on what's being shared across social networks like Facebook and Twitter at any given time.

Additionally, Microsoft unveiled a new application this week that integrates data from the location-based social networking service Foursquare.

"Let's say you're travelling to New York City for the week, but you don't know what's hot in Greenwich Village. Selecting the foursquare Map App in Bing Maps, and zooming into to Greenwich Village will get you tips that show you what locals are saying about the hot spots in that area," said Schwartz.

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