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Microsoft Licenses WolframAlpha Data For Bing

Data from search startup WolframAlpha is coming to Bing — the latest addition to Microsoft’s search engine, which is trying to battle Google (NSDQ: GOOG) for market share. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) announced the partnership today, as part of what it is calling the “first major release” of its Bing search engine since it initially unveiled it back in June. The company had said in September that a series of fall updates were coming and, indeed, in recent weeks Microsoft has added real-time feeds from Twitter, and, also folded its MSN Video site into Bing’s video search. So far, Microsoft’s big bet on Bing seems to paying off: During its first three months on the market, the search engine’s market share increased to 9.3 percent, turning around a year of consistent declines.

WolframAlpha, which itself only went live in May, aims to answer “factual queries” by pulling data from a number of public databases. Microsoft says that for now it will use WolframAlpha to provide results to some nutrition and fitness queries, as well as complex math questions. Users who search for “body mass index,” for instance, will be able to calculate it right from Bing and see how it compares to the population at large (See screenshot above).

Financial terms of the deal were not released, but it could help WolframAlpha escape the fate of some other search startups that have relied solely on ad revenue. While it drew lots of attention when it debuted, WolframAlpha’s traffic has since dropped sharply, according to Compete figures.

Other features Microsoft added to Bing today include enhanced results for city searches, weather and events. There’s also an update to the preview feature that lets searchers see what’s on a page before they navigate to it. Read more about the updates here.

2 Responses to “Microsoft Licenses WolframAlpha Data For Bing”

  1. I think Joseph analysis was insightful and on point. I think it was mentioned before that Wolfram Alpha should license instead of try to do a one trick pony stand-alone.

    Unlike the other "beat Google" clowns who start up these search engines, Wolfram Alpha was smart enough to be flexible and found alternative ways to monetize their repository.