Microsoft revamps Bing Shopping section

With Mother's Day fast approaching and graduations and summer vacation on the horizon in a few weeks, Microsoft has given the Shopping section of its Bing search engine a makeover, including the ability to link it to Facebook accounts.

With the Facebook integration, users can be reminded of friends' birthdays, as well as share their shopping lists with them, Microsoft said on Thursday.

Other changes include a redesigned Shopping home page, whose new layout is designed to give more prominent placement to top search queries, popular products and relevant articles, with the intention of making its easier and faster to scan this information.

A revamped results page now features larger images at the top of the screen, offers more filters to fine-tune results and lets users hover over items and trigger the display of additional product information.

Although Google remains by far the most popular search engine, Microsoft refuses to throw in the towel and has been investing heavily in Bing for years, saying that the game isn't over in the search market.

Microsoft officials maintain that there are big opportunities to radically improve the search user experience, and that if it continues innovating with Bing, it could make a run at Google.

Of course, Google doesn't take its dominant position in search for granted, and is constantly improving its algorithms to make sure it retains users' loyalty and defends its core market.

To improve their chances to compete better against Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are implementing a search partnership, but last week Yahoo's CEO Carol Bartz said that Microsoft's AdCenter search ad system isn't yielding the expected results for the companies.

Both Yahoo and Microsoft have said they are confident that improvements to AdCenter will boost its revenue-per-search rate to the expected levels before the end of the year.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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