Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 16:33 UK

Microsoft promises 'search 2.0'

By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

Bing (Microsoft)
Microsoft Live Search is changing

Microsoft is re-launching its search engine, promising to make search simpler, and aiming to overhaul Yahoo.

Re-named and re-branded, the search engine will go live first in the US and launch in beta elsewhere.

Google has more than 64% of the search market in the US, followed by Yahoo at 20% and Microsoft at 8.2%.

Bing offers to make search more relevant by understanding the intention of searches, and grouping more related information to the original query.

For example, searches for a product will also bring links to reviews, accessories, and online shops, as well as information about the item.

Searches for flight information will pull schedules and times from websites, as well as linking to hotels and weather.

Microsoft wants to reduce the amount of clicking a user has to do to find specific and related information.

Paul Stoddart, Microsoft UK search lead, "Forty percent of search queries go unanswered. There is something missing here and a big consumer need."

Google haven't been able to innovate a lot of the UI
Paul Stoddart, Microsoft

He added: "We can see it in the logs [of searches]. When searching using existing search engines I have to keep re-querying things - adding more words, clicking on a site, going back because it is not the right site, and ultimately abandoning their queries."

He added: "We are pulling information that we know people use every day."

He said Microsoft was hoping to build an "emotional connection" between users and its search engines, as well as brand loyalty.

Bing has a much softer, less clinical feel than previous Microsoft search engines and rivals, with a daily changing backdrop image.

"Google haven't been able to innovate a lot of the UI (user interface) because they have to display their ads as that's how they make their revenue. We can try things a bit differently," said Mr Stoddart.

Users are also able to save their searches to avoid having to remember on which site they found a particular piece of information.

Microsoft is forming partnership with a host of different online services which Bing can then trawl to aggregate specific information around searches - such as flight deals, reviews and holidays.

Mr Stoddart said the UK version of Bing was launching later than the US because Microsoft was busy finding the "best of breed" in web services specific to the UK that it could add into search engine results.

"People keep building global search engines but doing something for the UK is important," he said.

He denied that Microsoft's goal of overtaking Yahoo lacked ambition.

"Second place would be a great place. And once we're in second place we will go for first place.

"Microsoft has a great tradition of coming from behind."

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