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November 13, 2009

Bing goes live in the UK

Microsoft’s revamped search engine gets local slant

By Steve Evans

Microsoft has taken the covers of the UK version of its Bing search engine, aiming bringing more localised results to UK users.

Bing was launched in May this year to replace Microsoft’s much-derided Live search engine, although only visitors in the US got to see it in all its glory then. UK users were offered a beta version while Redmond tweaked the service by carrying out user research.

Bing UK’s features should be very similar to those in the US version but it will show rotating background images of UK scenes, such as the Angel of the North and Avebury.

Bing will be hoping to take a bite out of Google’s share of the search market in the UK, where it is even more dominant than the rest of the world. Google’s UK share is estimated at over 90%, with Yahoo on 3.2% and Bing on 2.8%.

“Bing is ready for the UK consumer, with our revolutionary way of searching the internet proving very popular,” Ashley Highfield, Microsoft’s UK head of consumer and online, said. “Removing our beta tag is merely the first step to signal Bing is here and already has features that are superior to those provided by other search engines.”

Features that Microsoft hopes will give it an edge over Google and Yahoo include integration with Facebook and Twitter, so updates from the social networking sites will be displayed in search results. The company has also joined forces with computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha to show results related to nutrition, health and advanced mathematics.

For the UK market, Microsoft has also struck a deal with price comparison site Ciao UK.

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Microsoft is rumoured to have spent over $100m marketing Bing.


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