Microsoft tweaks Bing's product search

The options to narrow search results will now appear as suggestions that drop down from the search bar on the fly

Microsoft has made changes to Bing's Shopping search engine designed to accelerate and simplify the product-finding process.

Bing Shopping's filter options to narrow results according to criteria like product category, brand and style, which previously were only displayed on the results page, will now also appear on the fly in a drop-down list below the search box as people type in queries.

Microsoft expects that these changes will help shoppers refine their searches more quickly, even before they execute the query and are taken to the results page, the company said on Monday.

In addition, Bing now features a new filter option that lets users call up only products whose prices have been cut, as well as another filter option that displays products only from a specific store.

Microsoft also expanded the scope of Bing Shopping's lists, which users can create and share with their contacts on Facebook. Previously, Bing users could only create a single Shopping list, but now they can create multiple lists. Also, Bing users can now share a Shopping list with a subset of their contacts, whereas before they had to share the list with all their friends.

Microsoft rolled out the ability for users to link Bing Shopping with their Facebook accounts in April.

Microsoft has been trying for years to level the search playing field through heavy investment in Bing and via high-profile partnerships, like its search deal with Yahoo and custom integration with Facebook, but Google remains dominant in search advertising and usage.

In the U.S. in July, Google grabbed a 65.1 percent share of search queries, followed in a very distant second place by Yahoo with 16.1 percent and by Bing in third place with 14.4 percent, according to comScore.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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