The merger of Bing and Yahoo, dubbed currently as the Search Alliance, is slated to occur in Q4 of this year. In what we can only assume as preparation for the Search Alliance, Microsoft has made several changes to their search features:
Crawler: As of October 1, 2010, Bing will change the name of their crawler from msnbot to bingbot. Any robot.txt files targeting msnbot will still be accepted by the bingbot.
News: Understanding news is a large part of why users search the Internet, Bing has updated their news query intent and the indexation speed of news content. They have also enhanced the news search experience with regards to location and section areas in tabs at the top of the page.
Vertical Search: The strength of Bing is that it provides a great search resource for particular verticals. Bing has enhanced search offerings in health, travel, shopping, and finance.
Entertainment: Bing is making a large investment in the entertainment search vertical. Bing sees a large market in this vertical. They state 76% of users search for entertainment but only 10% are happy with what they find. Thus, Bing is boosting their search offerings in four key areas: Music, Gaming, Movies, and TV.
Over the next several months, Bing will likely make more changes to their decision engine. Stay tuned!