Bing has announced a lineup of new features for their mobile version that give Apple's iOS mobile operating system a leg up while ignoring Google's Android OS.
Among the new features:
- A revamped Bing News page.
- A "split view" in Bing Maps that lets you view the map and relevant data (directions, local businesses, etc.) simultaneously.
- Search history and trending topic suggestions during search.
- The option to "Like" an image from Bing Image search, local business details, or an iOS app.
- An automatic app discovery tool in mobile search when using an iOS device. This service automatically surfaces Apple app content based on popularity and allows users to reach the install page directly from the mobile SERP.
You'll note from the emphasis added above that two of these new features are directly relevant to the iOS marketplace; they directly help users find Apple apps. Microsoft has been very direct in stating that these utilities are only available for iOS – and they haven't indicated an intention to expand to other platforms.
This means two big things:
- Google has been left off the list intentionally.
- Microsoft has seemingly given up on supporting apps in their own declining mobile OS (Windows Phone 7).
A Blockade of Partners
You can see Microsoft excluding Google as just a slap in the face, but it's actually something far more significant. Microsoft is forming a blockage around Google in a variety of markets. The first step in this partnership was allying with Yahoo!, creating a network of search sites powerful enough to stand up against Google. From there, however, things have only sped up.
Microsoft moved on to capture Facebook as a partner, something Google hasn't made any progress toward. While Google may cite that Microsoft is willing to give terms that Google finds unreasonable, there's also a clear sense that Facebook has decided to team up against the biggest threat in the market.
Now add Apple to that list. iOS has been suffering in market popularity when compared to Android, with Android gaining more than 5 percent more market share since the beginning of 2011 (compared to 1.3 percent growth for iOS).
It seems that Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and Apple have banded together, visibly stepping away from association with Google. The real question: Will their combined power be enough to break a giant?
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