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Bing and Wolfram Alpha team up

Microsoft's Bing search engine is to team up with Wolfram Alpha, the search engine that attempts to answer questions directly rather than providing links. The move will see Wolfram Alpha provide answers on Bing, which aims to improve it's results in nutrition, health and mathematics.

The partnership with the Wolfram Alpha, the brainchild of British-born physicist Stephen Wolfram, will initially be rolled out in the US only. The "computational knowledge engine" answers many questions on the fly by retrieving and processing raw data from databases.

Managed by staff at Wolfram Research to ensure the data it uses can be displayed, Wolfram Alpha can look up simple facts such as the height of Mount Everest or the Moon's distance from Earth, as well as using multiple sets of data to find out a country's GDP.

Microsoft said that data on nutrition and fitness could be of great use to people looking up information about food or dieting. "When you search for specific food items on Bing, you'll get a nutrition quick tab that allows you to learn more about it," the Redmond-based company said. "You also get a nutrition facts label at the bottom of the results page that summarises all information on that food item in a very familiar and friendly format."

Bing has been slowly increasing its market share since it was launched in May. Market share figures from Experian Hitwise state that the search engine grew from 8.96 percent in September to 9.57 percent in October. Google currently has 70.6 percent.

The Bing Wolfram partnership is the latest in a series of updates that Microsoft is rolling out to Bing this week, including Bing Video and a Bing Maps update.

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