As Microsoft strives to improve Bing, not only is its search engine reaching feature parity with Google’s popular offering, it is offering something above and beyond what has come before.
Perhaps the highest profile drive in this area by Redmond has been to promote the safety of children on the web. A long neglected area, this is an issue of serious concern to parents and educators around the world, who are well aware how easily an innocuous search can lead to often vulgar and unpleasant results. In addition to becoming the first search engine to support the ‘safe preference’ standard, Bing now works with America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) in order to help find missing children across the US and return them to their parents. Mostly spread through television, radio and other forms of traditional media, AMBER alerts have helped to reunite 723 abducted children with their families since their inception, now these alerts will be featured on Bing when users search for ‘amber alerts’.
In addition, Microsoft have made inroads to improving their knowledge of local features across the world. Bing now makes it easier to find your favourite bars, restaurants and lounges, and provides richer information about establishments, even when you’re on a mobile device. With the New Year shortly to arrive, having a little extra information at one’s fingertips regarding local watering holes when traveling out of town is welcome news indeed. Similar to Google’s local offerings, but instead integrating with the far more commonly used Yelp (rather than the sparse Google+ reviews), users can search for establishments in an area, and upon selecting one will receive a “local answer” with more details, including contact information for easy booking.
As Bing continues to improve and differentiate itself through providing value to the average user, the time will soon come for Mountain View to stop resting on its laurels and finally offer some tangible improvements to the overall Google experience.