Microsoft is doing well in the search market, with Brafton reporting that comScore data shows Bing-powered searches are steadily gaining ground. Now, the company may gain ground in the mobile search market thanks to the upcoming release of the Windows Phone 7. Microsoft today announced some new features of the phone that indicate it could improve mobile web browsing.
The home screen has live tiles that categorize users' most frequent phone activities into easy-to-navigate boxes, and then there are other "hubs" that categorize web activities. The phone has an Office Hub that makes it easy for professionals to edit work documents and share them with colleagues via mobile devices or traditional computers. It also has internet-ready options to facilitate music, video and photo downloads and sharing.
Perhaps most importantly, the Windows Phone 7 features a Bing-integrated local search feature that puts Microsoft's search engine front and center. This tool provides an integrated Bing search experience with fast access to phone directions, numbers, ratings and reviews and built-in Bing Maps functions. Microsoft hopes the phone will revolutionize mobile search, and it aims to let users "get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking."
The phone will make its European debut October 21, and it is set to reach the U.S. market in time for the holidays. Mobile marketers may want to monitor how consumers receive the Windows Phone 7 as they plan local search campaigns. Brafton reported earlier this year that local searches on smartphones are on the rise, and as Bing mobilizes its search options, mobile campaigns optimized for Microsoft's search engine could perform well on the Windows Phone 7 as well as Verizon phones that feature a Bing app – including Google's Android.
At the same time, the search giant will not easily be dethroned by Bing as king of mobile search. Recent data from StatCounter provided by Royal Pingdom indicates that Google accounts for more than 98 percent of the mobile searches.