PhotoIn the ongoing scuffle to be on top of the search engine hill, Microsoft's Bing is trying to compete with Google by making its site more interactive.

"Today we are taking a big step forward as we begin rolling out what is the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago," said the company in a prepared statement. "Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a brand new way to search designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience.

If you can't beat them join them, right? Which appears to be Bing's mentality as it's borrowing Google's idea of paying attention to your connections and web browsing patters to further personalize your search.

The fact that both Facebook and Google have mastered the ability to allow users to experience things in real time "presents an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how search should work," stated the post. "Suddenly an index of documents that does not embrace these changes is insufficient."


Contrarian view

On the other hand, there are those who would prefer that their search engine give them "just the facts," without coloring the results based on previous searches, location, etc. Enter DuckDuckGo, which is becoming the Little Engine That Could in the search world.

DDG has gone from from about 200,000 searches a day last year at this time to nearly 1.6 million today, according to SearchEngineLand, at least partly because it does not track its users' preferences, habits and location. 

Of course, DDG is merely a speck on Google and Microsoft's radars, as they continue their quest to personalize the search experience and deliver more targeted results to their advertisers.

Big loser

Last year, Microsoft lost a total of $2.6 billion from its online services, further driving its desire to compete with Google for search engine dominance. As reported earlier by Consumer Affairs, Bing launched a Daily Deals section, with 200,000 offers in 14,00 different cities, which further shows the upward trajectory the search company sees itself on.

Here is one of the major changes Bing users will soon notice:

When a user does a search for, let's say, "best mattresses to buy," and they've accessed their Facebook page through Bing, all of their Facebook friends who conducted similar searchers, or had some past Facebook comment on the matteress will appear on the screen. Then, one could either read their friends' opinions on the mattress, or simply reach out to them for advice.

"This is a fundamentally different way to look at search," said Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's online services division, in a interview with the media.

In October of 2010, Microsoft applied for a patent to obtain access to social media sites like Gawker and TMZ, to further determine a user's up-to-date trending patterns based on their views and comments. And Bing has already partnered with Facebook, as the two powerhouses revealed they would be joining forces back in 2010, for what was named "Social Search."

It will be very interesting to see what else Google has in its bag of tricks. Stay tuned, because this feels like the beginning stages of some intense back and fourth.

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