The search engine game has become as much about offering powerful side services as it is about giving the best SERP results. The first half of this month has seen two updated services on Bing: Bing Weather and Bing Finances.
The New Weather Tools
While Bing Weather has been around for some time, it hasn't been particularly expansive. The new version, with a "refreshed look," also covers a lot of ground not typically offered by similar services (say, Google's weather widget). Here's a look at the top portion of a search for Moab, Utah:
As you can see, you get all your basics at the top (current temperature and conditions, sunset time, 5-day forecast, and clear navigation) as well as data from three respected weather sources (AccuWeather, Weather.com, and Weather Underground). This, however, is just the top of the results.
Below these core items, you can find a lineup of weather maps covering specific details (precipitation, temperature, etc.), hourly weather, weather bulletins (such as storm warnings), and monthly averages for things like temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and humidity.
Surprisingly, you do actually have to go to Bing.com/weather or find the weather tab on Bing (it's sometimes hiding) to get these results; they aren't displayed or even linked directly in the SERP. Still, for those with an ache for a thorough look at the weather, the tool is very useful. As the Bing Blog entry announcing the refreshed look stated, "Bing has your weather covered. Even if your local weatherman does not."
The Updated Finance Tools
Continuing its history of strong partnerships (as demonstrated previously with their work alongside Yahoo, Kayak, and Facebook), Bing is "teaming with leading finance resources including Seeking Alpha, StockTwits.com, TheFlyOnTheWall, and Trefis.com to help you make more informed financial decisions."
These partnerships allow Bing to provide real-time updates to stock values, show online conversations (especially Twitter conversations) on a given stock, display recent news about any given company, and show "data, tools, and analysis currently only available to professional investors" (according to the Bing Blog entry announcing the release).
You can access the Bing reporting at Bing.com/finance, or you can navigate to the "Finance" tab after searching for a given stock symbol. So, by inserting GOOG, you can use Bing to see just how amazingly Google's stock is performing.
As Bing continues its slow but steady growth, small items like these contribute to a sense of usefulness, thoroughness, and community. While Google brands itself as a comprehensive search site, Bing continues to push for a search + social + service concept.