In a constant, competitive effort to outdo Google in the ad-search business, Microsoft has now teamed up with community review site Yelp by integrating restaurant, store, and business reviews with Bing search results. This move announced on June 14 is similar to that made by Google when it incorporated Zagat reviews into Google+ Local Pages on May 30.
A little more about Yelp
Founded in 2004, Yelp is a searchable social networking platform that helps you find bars, restaurants, spas, hotels, and etc. all in your vicinity. The best part is that users can rate businesses and provide reviews. How does Yelp make money? Adjacent to every review there are ads which bring in the revenue.
Bing one step ahead of Google
Bing went one step ahead of Google to integrate Facebook connections with its search results. So let’s say that you are looking to book a hotel in Bhutan. What Bing will help you do is that it will serve you with messages from all your Facebook friends who have been to Bhutan. Isn’t that something? Google has always been the more dominant player in the search market, and in May it held a 66.7 percent share. Bing came a dismal second with only 15.4 percent share. Yahoo Search was a close 13.4 percent. While Google delivered a whopping 11.7 billion search results in May, Bing provided only 2.7 billion.
The Google-Bing Tug-of-War
Acquiring Zagat in 2011 was a means of competing against Yelp in the ad-supported review business. It’s not just about Yelp or Zagat. Google launched the Google Knowledge Graph in May this year. Knowledge Graph helps enhance user search results. With the Knowledge Graph, you can search for people, places, things, etc. and get more relevant results. If you Google “Taj Mahal” then this Knowledge Graph will help you distinguish between the hotel and the monument. Bing tried to compete by incorporating Facebook results and adding a middle column in the Bing results page called “Snapshot”. So what is Snapshot? If you hover the mouse over the links that appear on the left side of the results page then some additional information appears in the middle column that gives you a review or some more details about a hotel or destination.
As long as Google and Microsoft exist, the war for bringing in exclusive and optimized content in the highly competitive search results domain will most likely continue.