Google and Bing seem to be in a contest to "out-connect" each other in as many aspects of users' lives as possible through their respective local search services. It almost seems that the two most well-known search engines - one with a majority of the search market share and the other hoping to gain a more steady stream of users - want their users to become search, yet it remains to be seen whether users will embrace multitudinous search offerings that they never knew was needed. Here are some of the new offerings from Google and Bing and what they might mean for users and small-business owners alike:
In one of its more interesting initiatives, Google product manager Ilya Mezheritsky announced in the Official Google Search blog that it has recently begun incorporating nutrition information into its Knowledge Graph for more than 1,000 different foods. So, if a person searches "How many calories are in peaches?" or "How much protein is in barley?" Google will provide its own answer at the top of search, just as it already provides definitions, pronunciation and translation options for searches that begin with "What is...?"
Regular search users will probably like this new change, because not having to sort through various web pages to verify facts saves time. There's no doubt that many users will wonder how exactly Google can tell the amount of fat, calories or carbs are in a burrito if it doesn't have all of the specifics. Google's new Knowledge Graph initiatives might not be good for small-business owners in certain industries. In a way, Google is minimizing businesses' local SEO tactics by placing its own results as number one in its SERPs.
Microsoft just launched Windows 8.1, only seven months after its launch of Windows 8. Microsoft announced in a recent blog post that its goals with Windows 8.1 are to enhance search and personalization, among other things. Now, when people use Bing, it provides aggregated search results, which Microsoft calls "global," that bring together all elements of people's Windows presence: Personal files, web results, apps and SkyDrive materials. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land said that this move changes things.
"Bing becomes something more than a 'search engine,'" Sterling wrote. "It becomes a central utility and content discovery tool that offers a 're-imagined' experience."
The new Bing results organize data in a way that hasn't been seen in search before. It has a lot of potential to draw in new users.