Microsoft’s "decision engine" Bing has officially launched the Japanese version of its search service.

Writing on the Bing Community blog, Alison Fisher said the company changed its main homepage on Tuesday (July 13th) to mark the occasion.

There was also a showcase for the new features in Japan itself, with the Yoshimoto Entertainment Company holding a live event where comedians gave their take on the search engine while highlighting some of its characteristics to the audience.

Ms Fisher said the new service, which could open up a new audience for Microsoft’s search engine marketing, is designed to offer a "smarter, more visual way" for Japanese users to make their choices.

"The group had a great response to the new homepage, shopping and celebrity information," she added.

In related news, recent research from Hitwise shows Bing increased its share of the US search market by seven per cent in the four weeks to June 26th.

The site accounted for nearly one in ten (9.85 per cent) queries during the period, putting it third behind Yahoo! (14.37 per cent) and Google (71.65 per cent).

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