Commentary

For Bing, Too, There's Now An App For That

bing app

The search engine wars continue to heat up between Microsoft and Google. And now Microsoft has entered the mobile market with an iPhone application late Tuesday aimed at those searching for a little more Bing, and a little less Google. Similar to Google's mobile application, consumers with an iPhone can download the Bing mobile search engine application for free at Apple's App Store.

The mobile Bing browser acts as a gateway to Microsoft's Web search and other services, such as images, movies, maps, businesses, news, and turn-by-turn directions, complete with traffic information. Similar to Bing's search engine on the PC, the home screen shows the Bing image of the day, complete with clickable hot spots to discover related trivia.

Bing's iPhone app also allows people to search the Web by voice, but some folks trying out the service have noticed the voice feature crashes the browser. Theoretically, by eliminating the need to type, spoken commands give people an easy way to input search terms. Google recently released a few mobile applications based on voice commands, too. Apparently, Google's push will support applications on the Google phone, dubbed Nexus One. Reportedly, it will be sold direct to consumers sometime in the first half of 2010.

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For those keeping score of the number of searches across engines, comScore released November numbers late Tuesday. Google still dominates, but Microsoft continues to gain share.

Microsoft sites' domestic core search market share increased to 10.3% in November, up from October's 9.9% share, according to comScore. Microsoft sites increased search volume by 46% in November, compared with the prior year; October's volume was up by 30.8%.

For Google, domestic core search market increased slightly in November, from 65.4% in October to 65.6% in November. Core search volume also increased in November, 21.8% over the previous year; October's volume was up by 17.4%.

Looking past the iPhone application to find news that could influence Microsoft's future, I heard the company recently reached a deal with European antitrust regulators to give computer users in that part of the world a choice.

The "choice screen" tied to each IE browser would let consumers select Microsoft's browser as the default, or one from rivals Mozilla, Google, Apple or Opera. The deal takes effect in 2010.

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