In their ongoing attempt to lure users away from Google, Microsoft have teamed up with WolframAlpha to improve results in the Bing Search engine.
Both Bing and WolframAlpha were launched in 2009:
- Bing appeared in June and received a largely positive response from the Internet community. The results are relevant and fast, plus it has a few interesting features such as text and image previews. It’s been slowly chipping away at Google’s market share but is yet to achieve worldwide appeal.
- WolframAlpha was launched in May and was billed as the “knowledge engine” which would topple Google. It parses natural language and presents intelligent data rather than links to other websites. Following a high-profile marketing campaign, the servers promptly crashed and the system failed to live up to its initial hype.
Linking both services could work well. For example, a search for the planet “Mars” could show a wealth of technical information from WolframAlpha plus links to associated websites such as Nasa (and the chocolate company).
This isn’t the first search Bing partnership deal Microsoft has instigated. The company announced a Yahoo partnership in July and has recently begun integrating results from Facebook and Twitter.
It appears that the future battle for web search traffic is likely to be dominated by Google vs Microsoft in allegiance with everyone else. Who will win? Let’s hope no one does — the competition encourages innovation.
Will Bing and WolframAlpha be a good fit? Would you use it in preference to Google Search?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.