Bing is full of surprises these days in its unending competition with Google. Bing adds new features regularly like the Wolfram Alpha function and mapping tools that are visually stunning. Integration with the Wolfram Alpha computational engine means that they will now be able to interpret what you ask in human terms. If you search for “fast food”, it will give you the usual restaurant information, but also exercise tips and indigestion information. Yahoo has introduced a major search feature too – as of last year. The feature is called Bing. Yahoo is finally throwing in the towel in search; they may have snubbed Microsoft’s $44 billion takeover offer two years ago, but they have other Microsoft-friendly attitudes in place.Yahoo has closed its search business, and is allowing Bing to do the backroom work. They closed down their shopping API as well, and chose to power their shopping site with Price Grabber.

There have been other reports out there wondering if Yahoo is preparing to shut shop entirely; if they don’t do their own search, what is it they do? Yahoo’s management has put out a vehement statement about how it isn’t fair for anyone to consider Yahoo a spent force. The statement claims that Yahoo has a great relationship with its developers and a commitment to open platforms; well, my Log Blog was an innovative service that developers and geeks loved too. And that’s been closed by Yahoo as well. GeoCities recently got the ax, and it looks like Yahoo these days is all about closing down and outsourcing. It would appear that pretty soon, the US search market will be left with just a big two – just like the US auto market when it lost Chrysler.

But Yahoo is still in the search business to all appearances. They take care of all the advertising business on their own site as well as on Bing’s. Yahoo’s plan is to cut costs, of course. But to do that, it still needs to be around, doesn’t it? Yahoo is no longer a website that provides original services; it is just an aggregator. And this makes for the passing of an era.