Bing and Yelp Team Up to Take on Google Places

Last week, Microsoft's Bing search engine announced a huge partnership with user review and recommendations site Yelp that could help position both companies to overthrow their common nemesis, Google, and its Google Places service, in particular.

Local businesses will likely benefit from this pairing, as it gives them an alterative or additional way to present their companies on a search engine and to increase exposure without relying solely on Google. In addition, having a Yelp listing could now get a business that is not currently in Bing's database added to Bing Local, although this isn't a guarantee.

It should be noted that Bing is only using Yelp content from six different business categories: restaurants, arts and entertainment, beauty and spas, home services, shopping and local services. Right now, only about 30 percent of the business listings on Bing use Yelp content.

For the foreseeable future, the search engine will be using three types of Yelp content in its business listings: review snippets, business attributes and photos. The content is laid out with the attributes first (labeled as "Features"), Yelp photos interspersed with other images Bing has of the business and Yelp review snippets below the pictures.

However, while Bing will acquire basic business information like names, addresses and phone numbers from Yelp - mostly to ensure that it is showing reviews for the correct business - the data shown in its local listings will still come from the Bing Business Portal, InfoUSA and standard Web crawls, among others, so simply having a Yelp presence won't replace the need to work with these sources.

While the partnership will only partially impact Bing Local business listings for the time being, I would expect to see deeper and more complex integration between the two services sooner than later.