Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is giving celebrity gossip fans another tool to fuel their obsessions with Snipp3t, a Hollywood news app that allows subscribers to receive news alerts, YouTube videos and photos that include their favorite stars and starlets. But the app has an ulterior motive: get iPhone users familiar with Microsoft's search engine Bing.
Users simply install the app, which is only available for the iPhone, and choose the celebrities they wish to follow. News is shown as a timeline that shows trending stories from other famous figures. It’s a bit like your Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) newsfeed – except it can include Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, or any celebrity of your choice.
Like most apps that are currently available, you can use your Facebook account to sign-in. Snipp3t is also a social app. You can view which celebrities your friends are following and can subscribe to them. You can also bypass the Facebook log-in and simply use Bing to search for celeb gossip and news.
When you search for celebrities in the app, the results come from Bing. (Looks like David Duchovny is getting a divorce). The app is another vehicle for Microsoft's search engine, which was relaunched in 2009 but has struggled for traction. Microsoft has attempted to differentiate Bing by improving results for specialized searches, in this case, celebrities.
In February of this year, Bing had 18.4 percent of U.S. search queries, according to comScore, while Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had 67.5 percent and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) 10.3 percent.
Earlier this year, a number of Microsoft investors told newly-appointed CEO Satya Nadella, 46, and the company's board of directors that they should cancel endeavors like the Xbox One next-gen gaming console, search engine Bing and the Surface tablet.
Bing, which was previously known as Live Search and MSN Search, suffered a loss of $1.3 billion in 2013, which was less than the its loss in 2012, but still the less popular search engine in the red.