Microsoft is another huge tech company that has been in the search business for years. Its most recent incarnation, Bing, is intended to be a viable alternative to Google, not just another imitation. Stefan Weitz, the director of Bing, explained the search engine's layered approach to presenting search results to users in a recent interview with eWeek. He explained that Bing is not necessarily out to topple Google in the short term, but hopes to exploit its distinct differences to provide better results for its users.
In its top layer, Bing leverages trends in social networking to integrate results from Facebook, Twitter, and other sites into the results it shows. It even goes so far as to show sites that Facebook friends like, hoping to capitalize on the fact that people who know each other often share similar interests.
The "geospatial" aspect of the Web that Bing hopes to exploit integrates information about places from multiple sources to give users in-depth perspectives on the different types of places they are looking for.
Finally, Bing sees services as another layer, helping users find the best sources for tickets, entertainment and other services people need on a regular basis. It is at this layer that Weitz hopes to change the nature of the web from "nouns" to "verbs."