Earlier this month, Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new style that looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface, but today the Redmond, Wash.-based Company branched from the design and announced a host of new features.
The redesign is still very Google-esque, but the notable aspect to this change is that Microsoft is continuing to make jabs at its primary competitor all the while conducting an obvious rip-off. The Windows-maker even detailed to users in a Bing blog post that its search relevance and quality surpassed Google’s when all signs of branding were removed from the search engines’ homepages:
From the outset, we knew that serving relevant results that were equal to or better than the other guy was table stakes. To track our progress, we conducted tests that removed any trace of Google and Bing branding. When we did this study in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google. The same unbranded study now shows that Bing Search results now have a much wider lead over Google’s. When shown unbranded search results 43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results. What this means is that in 3 years we’ve made some real progress in core relevance and search quality, and while search is becoming so much more than just web results, having a rock solid foundation is important for the future of Bing and search more generally.
Google is adamant on accelerating work on its Google+ social network. By doing so, the company has already stepped on people’s toes. An upcoming Q&A feature from Google does not seem to be aimed squarely at Quora, a popular question-and-answer website, but the Quora people understandably cann0t be too happy about this development. See, according toVentureBeat, the search company is trying out a new capability called “Ask on Google+” allowing you to ask friends about the topics you are searching for. It is akin to Facebook Questions, with one huge advantage: One accesses it easily at the bottom of one’s search results:
Click the link to ask your friends any question related to restaurants, movies, how to make friends on Google+, or other topics. Your question will automatically be posted to your Google+ stream for your friends to answer.
Granted, it is nowhere near as complete as Quora and it lacks the basic component, a Q&A engine. In its current implementation, asking stuff on Google+ from your search results simply puts up an overlay window with a pre-populated Google+ post related to your search query. For example, if I were searching for “2012 Android smartphones,” clicking the “Ask on Google+” link would create the “Hi there! I have a question about 2012 Android smartphones…” message. You can edit the message, select your audience, or add a location, photo, video or URL. The folks with whom you shared the message will not be able to select from custom choices like with Facebook Answers. Still, it certainly does not mean crowd-sourcing answers from your Google+ friends will not take some allure off Quora and similar services— quite the contrary.