Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is making a series of updates to its search engine as it continues to try to challenge Google (NSDQ: GOOG) in the search market. Among the latest updates to Bing is a sure to be talked about feature that lets people “step inside” some local listings by looking through photos of the interior of an establishment; it’s powered by local startup EveryScape, which has been charging small businesses across the U.S. to build 3D, photo-realistic panoramas of their physical locations. Users will now also be able to make reservations at restaurants directly on the search engine via a partnership with OpenTable.
The updates come as Bing is now powering results and ads on both its own site, as well as Yahoo’s. That means the search engine accounts for 28.1 percent of the overall search market, according to the latest comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures. Google’s market share is 66.2 percent.
Google gave its own local search results a facelift in late October, adding a new, specialized format for local search results, which includes a summary of reviews of the establishment on reviews sites like Yelp and Citysearch, as well as an address and phone number.
Other updates Bing announced today include a way to purchase tickets for events on the search engine (through a partnership with FanSnap), a new user experience for image search, as well as a series of changes to maps and Bing Travel. The complete changes are outlined here.