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As Bing join forces with Baidu to power their English based searches, once again our attention turns to their ongoing battle with Google over internet domination. Are they readying up for another challenge?
It certainly looks that way. Whilst this could just be pure blind optimism, there have been a few noises coming out of Bing which are certainly making me think there maybe something large on the horizon for them.
Bing and Baidu
Well first of all, we have Bing’s new relationship with Baidu, where they’re going to power all of their English based searches, as announced by Barry Swartz. This is a pretty significant achievement, particularly given Google’s almost defunct operations in China. The search engine giant had ceased in their endeavours to conquer the Chinese markets last year, due to a few censorship issues [See: Google’s Acrimonious China Exit Highlights Role in State Censorship].
For Bing, this presents a huge advantage for them over Google, as they’re in an enviable position of potentially penetrating the ‘untouchable’ Chinese market. With a reported 10 million searches performed each day on Baidu in English and nearly half a billion internet users, there is great potential for Bing to get one up on Google. Issues of censorship may play a huge roll in Bing’s success, as it did for Google, however Microsoft have said they will operate “in a manner that both respects local authority and culture.”
Bing and Skype
A couple of months ago, it was reported that Microsoft had acquired the internet communications provider, Skype [See: Microsoft close to Buying Skype]. The deal went through at a reported $8.5 billion according to Microsoft’s own press release.
At the time, lots of questions surrounded the acquisition. What direction was Microsoft going to take it? Why did they want it? And how were they going to monetise it? Whilst a lot of these questions still need to be answered, it can’t be helped to look at Google+ and think; well maybe this was Microsoft’s grand plan after all.
Google+ [See: Google+: The Long Awaited Social Network] has been met with great enthusiasm in some quarters (maybe this is just a honeymoon period), but with services such as Hangouts, whereby users can have group video chats, maybe this is where Microsoft want to be competing – and with Skype on their side, it would stupid if they didn’t challenge them.
Bing and Facebook
It’s no secret that Bing have collaborated with Facebook over social integration of their search results. We revealed an update on the situation a couple of months ago [See: More Social Signals Being Integrated into Bing Search] and the way things are going I wouldn’t be surprised if the Facebook/Bing partnership becomes more solid as they take on Google.
I mean, the inception of Google+ should be enough motivation for Bing to diversify, and hopefully this is where their purchase of Skype may come into play. With Facebook on their side too, we should see healthy competition when it comes to developing a social and search environment similar to Google+.
So Bing, or Microsoft more specifically, look like they’re waiting in the wings; with plenty of work going on behind the scenes I can only speculate they’re readying for challenge on Google and Google+, if they’re not, then just what are they waiting for?