Yes, calendar-wise it is mid-December. But that isn't stopping Microsoft from calling a new set of social, mobile and local search enhancements it is rolling out to Bing users over the next couple of weeks its "fall update."
The Softies showed off a number of these updates at the Bing Summit 2010 event in San Francisco on December 15. Microsoft further detailed the updates in a handful of new blog posts.
Some of the updates expand on the Facebook-Microsoft search partnership outlined in October by integrating more of Facebook's "Like" functionality into Bing results. There were a number of updates made to Bing Maps, and a couple of new "vertical" partnerships unveiled with OpenTable (for restaurant reservations) and FanSnap (for sports ticket purchases). Microsoft is adding new functionality to Bing for iPhone and Android (though not Windows Phone 7). And the company is updating its m.bing.com mobile site with "the latest HTML5 technologies" to "deliver an amazing browser-experience across many modern devices," company officials said.
(Search Engine Land has a detailed and granular run down of the Bing fall update particulars on his site.)
In related news, comScore's latest search-share market data is out. Bing managed to up its share slightly in November 2010, while Google and Yahoo both declined a bit, in terms of "explicit core search share" in the U.S. (Explicit core search share removes certain categories of searches that comScore doesn't deem to be actual "user engaged" searches.) Google had 66.2 percent (down from 66.3 in October) of the U.S. explicit core search share for November. Bing had 11.8 percent (up from 11.5 in October) and Yahoo had 16.4 (down from 16.5 in October) percent, according to the latest comScore data.
Back to the Bing Summit announcements from today. TechCrunch noted that Microsoft is continuing to cluster its Bing improvements around the categories that are most popular among consumers: Travel, shopping, celebrity news, local searches, etc. As I often tell those who ask me whether Bing is my default search engine, the answer is no. If I was searching for a new camera to buy, I'd Bing it. If I was searching more generally -- for news, an article I wrote, or information about something not-consumption-specific, I'd still Google. For me, it's more about the right tool for the right search job....