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You'd think that after being caught red handed copying Google (or not), the engineers at Bing would come up with something original. But copying Google is just far too easy.

Sarcasm aside, Bing announced yesterday that it has added new personalization and localization features closely resembling similar features Google has had in place for some time.

When performing searches that may be location-specific, Bing is now taking into account the searcher's location. For instance, if you do a search for "restaurants" and you're based in New York, Bing may display results that are more relevant to you location (eg. websites for restaurants in New York).

In addition, Bing is personalizing results for "navigational" queries based on past searches. Bing's Aidan Crook and Sanaz Ahari explain:

...if a user issues a query such as {acs} the most relevant result for that user is not necessarily the same as that for the majority of people in the U.S. To numerous users with an interest in pursuing a career in chemistry, the most relevant result may be the American Chemical Society, but to someone interested in how they can get involved in the fight against cancer, the most relevant result is more likely to be the American Cancer Society.

According to Bing, "research shows that users commonly re-issue such navigational queries and the intent of that user rarely changes," so Bing thinks that looking at past search behavior and incorporating it into results can assist in making sure that Bing is offering up the most relevant SERPs. In cases where Bing has personalized results, users are notified via a message indicating that their search histories have been used.

As Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land notes, Google has been offering local and personalized results for years, albeit with some minor differences. But while Bing hasn't added anything entirely unique or innovative here, that doesn't mean that this news isn't important.

With Google and Microsoft (thanks to its partnership with Yahoo) controlling the vast majority of the search market, most users are now liable to see search results that are personalized in some fashion. This, of course, has significant potential implications for SEOs, who increasingly find themselves dealing with a much more complicated landscape given that different users are seeing different results.

Over time, as personalization becomes more advanced, SEOs may find that they've been brought full circle to a place where the basics -- things like quality content and solid markup -- are once again the best and most obvious investments.

Patricio Robles

Published 11 February, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Matt

Snappy title that'll draw clicks etc but its fair enough MS are adding this feature to Bing. So what if it is a few years behind, if they never added it, that would be something to hit them with instead.

over 5 years ago

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Rachel

Well it makes sense for Bing to try to imitate Google. It is def the best search out there. Now the Question is, How is Bing going to truly improve on that?

over 5 years ago

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Daniel

Disagree with Rachel. Exact opposite is true, does not make sense to copy the leader - people percieve you as a 'knock off' of the leader when you're seen to be doing that, it only furthers the leaders leadership and your also-ran position.

Best thing you can do is position yourself as the exact OPPOSITE of the Leader....Repositioning is an interesting concept where you hang a negative on the leader...EG: the leader is an american company, so you come along and promote yourself as 'authentic british' and subconciously hang a negative on the leader.

Dan

over 5 years ago

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Timothy

Are all the drones of people who immediately tweet this all on the payroll? Seriously, how much noise do you really need to make about an article that literally says nothing important whatsoever.

And Daniel, your point of positioning while making sense in other areas, certaining wouldn't make sense in the context of making a search engine more usable. Your point is somewhat on a completely different tangent.

over 5 years ago

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James Lang

Agree with Matt & Rachel. Conceptually, this should result in a better user experience and the execution could differ greatly from Google's. Do you think they shouldn't have done it?

over 5 years ago

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Andrew

Daniel please - your argument is equivelent to suggesting Cadbury's take a strategic decision to make bad chocolate, just because Lindt make great chocolate. There's nothing wrong with stealing best practise from a competitor, but as Rachael correctly states, if Bing want to win market share they now have to go one better than Google.

over 5 years ago

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Rob

Agree with Rachel's thoughts. a "Me too" position is valid in such a massive market in the short term. Carve out a niche and go from there.

However, if Bing have aspirations of challenging that number 1 spot, their engineers need to innovate better than one of the most innovative companies in the world, and that is a very big ask....

over 5 years ago

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Steve

I expect better from econsultancy. The title should be changed to "Econsultancy copies every MS basher ever, again!" Seriously now, why is this interesting, it's just lazy and so 20th century.
Do you really think that MS doesn't have any strategy at all and all they can do is copy Google? Functionality like this is standard now, every app should deliver relevant content to the user based on what is known about them and their own preferences.
You people tweeting this should be ashamed of yourselves.
I agree with Matt though, awesome link bait, well done on that score.

Steve

over 5 years ago

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Depesh

For all those "me too" comments about how great Google search is, it is true that Google is pretty much the defacto search engine because of its market share, but that doesn't make it the best search engine out there..... Google controls the market a) because it is GOOD at what it does and b) the competition don't offer anything BETTER. Google has lots of cracks in its search engine, go ask any decent SEO'r. However the fact remains the majority of users use Google for its simplicity and the fact that most of the time it delivers

over 5 years ago

david carralon

david carralon, Head of SEO EMEA & APAC at Career Builder

Big thumbs down to this time-wasting article. Bing copies Google, Google gets upset... Google copies Bing, how boring, sorry!

over 5 years ago

Ciaran Norris

Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare

I think it's terrible when search engines copy each other: http://news.cnet.com/Google,-Yahoo-bury-the-legal-hatchet/2100-1024_3-5302421.html

over 5 years ago

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liz

I have to agree with Rachel, I think that Google has the right idea and no search engine has been able to match the ability of it. Not being a knock off is important but using a method that has proved to be efficient time and time again is simply wise. You would not reinvent the wheel, it has served as fairly well till now.

over 5 years ago

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