Thursday, August 18

Bells and Whistles: Microsoft Quietly Adding New Widgets To Bing

As digital marketing continues on its track to eclipse television ads as the largest single sector of the advertising world, search engines are well placed to deliver those ads.

Because up to 75% of search users never scroll past that first page of search results, pay-per-click ads on Google and Bing search results pages occupy very valuable real estate. Unfortunately for Bing, Google continues to reign supreme over the world of search. Not only that, but Google has recently increased its share of the fast-growing mobile paid search market, which already accounts for up to 52% of PPC clicks on search engines. Of those mobile PPC clicks on search engines, Google accounts for as much as 83% of them, as of 2015.

So what’s a search engine that’s not Google to do? This January, Microsoft began quietly testing a new internet speed test function. In fact, the test is so quiet many tech writers were unable to find the speed test widget at all. To find the widget, simply pull up Bing and search either “internet speed test” or “speed test.”

In an unusually brief corporate communication, Microsoft told VentureBeat, “We’re always testing new experiences for Bing, which includes the Speed Test experience…We have nothing further to share at this time.”

For some searchers, the widget only appeared in mobile search results, while for other it appeared in the desktop version of Bing. The widget tests the speed of your internet connection, while also providing information on the user’s IP address, latency, download speed, and upload speed.

Already, search engines provide widgets directly on the search engine results page for certain types of common searches, such as currency conversions or definitions.

The internet speed test widget is just the latest new function from Microsoft, which has recently begun adding new bells and whistles to Bing, like emoji searches and the classic arcade game Snake.

So what’s the value of the new speed test, if any? VentureBeat concluded, “Nobody is going to switch from Google to Bing over any of these — no, not even for a speed test tool. But this does show Microsoft continuing to push the bar higher. If there’s any tech market that needs competition, it’s search.”

Hear, hear.

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