Microsoft’s Tuesday night press conference in Hollywood could have easily been a movie junket – the star studded event was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featured special guests including actor Joseph Gordon Levitt and Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow. The glitz and glamour fitting of a film release honored Bing’s newly launched “entertainment experience,” though the features will unlikely help Bing outshine Google in the search market.
The music tab, for instance, caters to the more than 70 percent of people who look for lyrics online: When users search for a song’s lyrics, they can find them directly on Bing and they’ll also be presented with other song lyrics from the album and artist on a left-side toolbar. To top it off, users can listen to up to 5 million free plays of their favorite tunes. Similar options, such as instant access to movie show times along with theater maps and film reviews, are offered for the other verticals.
Microsoft has made this huge investment because it says, “76 percent of people use search to help find and navigate their entertainment options online, but only 10 percent say they have a trusted place” to get the information they seek. Bing is now positioned to be the entertainment junkie’s go-to site.
The young search engine is admirably putting forth unique, appealing features. The question is: Will it lure searchers away from Google?
Google is arguably lacking a cohesive entertainment platform. Still, it offers an Entertainment tab for Google News, a Google TV feature that lets users watch search engine finds on their home televisions and standard searches for films and music.
Perhaps all that glitters with the new Bing Entertainment features will not have anything against Google’s search gold. A recent HitWise report indicates that Google’s share rose to 72.17 of U.S. searches in May, while Bing dropped to 9.23 percent last month.