Bing and Google in a race for search features

While Google is dominant in search, it has been watching Microsoft’s Bing and in some cases mimicking some of Bing’s innovations, reports the New York Times. Bing still handles a small slice of web searches in the United States—12.7 percent in June, compared with Google’s 62.6 percent, as measured by web analytics firm comScore. But Bing’s share has been growing, as has Yahoo’s, while Google’s has been shrinking. And while no one argues that Google’s dominance is in immediate jeopardy, Google is watching Microsoft closely and has adopted some of Bing’s innovations—like its travel search engine, its ability to tie more tools to social networking sites, and its image search—or buying start-ups to help it do so in the future. Google has even taken on some of Bing’s distinctive look, like giving people the option of a Bing-like colorful background, and the placement of navigation tools on the left-hand side of the page. The result is a renaissance in search, resulting in more sophisticated tools for web users who want richer answers to complex questions than the standard litany of blue links. The competition is a remarkable and surprising twist: Microsoft, knocked around for so long as a bumbling laggard, has given the innovative upstart Google a kick in the pants. And as the search engines introduce feature after competing feature, some analysts say they have set off an arms race, with the companies poised to spend whatever it takes to win the second phase of web search…

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