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Bing beats Google to the punch on Bitcoin

Microsoft scored a small victory over Google after Bing started to convert Bitcoins into various other currencies through the search engine.

Related: An in-depth look at the Bitcoin value surge: How long will it last?

The firm’s currency conversion service uses data provided by Coinbase, a digital wallet company, to convert various worldwide currencies into the popular virtual currency.

“As Bitcoin makes headlines and captures the world's attention, we thought it was only natural to give you an easy way to track real-time fluctuations. Starting today, you will find instant Bitcoin conversions at the top of your Bing results,” stated a post on the Bing blog.

For the time being the service is only available to people in the US, Australia, Canada, India and the UK, with Bing promising the roll it out to additional markets “in the coming weeks.”

To say that Bitcoin had a mixed 2013 is an understatement after it saw plenty of fluctuations in value and as such a widespread conversion tool will be helpful for those that aren’t as nuanced in the ins and outs of the currency.

The currency shot to prominence back in September 2013 when the FBI arrested the operator of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, and discovered that much of the $158 million [£95 million] fortune amassed by the site was held in the virtual currency.

In the ensuing months the price of a single Bitcoin rose as high as $1,200 [£730] per BTC before it crashed back down sharply in December to around $600 [£360] per BTC after the Chinese government banks began blocking transactions made using the virtual currency.

Related: A closer look at the latest record Bitcoin collapse

Bitcoin is currently the only virtual currency supported by Bing and it means that Google can jump ahead of Microsoft, if it so pleases, when it comes to other popular virtual currencies like Dogecoin and Litecoin.