Recent Engine Updates from Bing

5/30/2012

Danielle Leitch, Executive Vice President

Search is certainly not for the faint of heart or slow of pace … as soon as you think you’ve got your bearings; another game changer takes center stage. In early 2012, there have been a number of big announcements and updates from both Google & Bing. Please see Khrysti Nazzaro’s excellent article in this month’s newsletter, for breakdown on Google Penguin and other changes. Below, I outline a few of the recent search updates from Bing that you should be aware of:

  • UI cleanup. In early May Bing announced a new, streamlined user interface, which removed the left-rail and shifted some of its elements to less obtrusive locations; and toned down the use of multiple font colors. The new design underscores whitespace, with the “meat” of the page being the search results themselves.
  • Bing gets even more social. The hallmark of Bing’s social search reboot is the Social “Sidebar”, which is a third column to the right of the paid search ads that includes query-relevant content from social networks. Social search in Bing is predominately Twitter & Facebook centric, although reports suggest that content from other social networks, if it’s relevant to the query at hand, will be included in the new “Social Sidebar”. The sidebar has a variety of elements like:
    • “Friends Who Might Know” – which are updates from the searcher’s Facebook & Twitter networks (if the searcher is logged in). These results are personalized, based on your friend / following network in these channels.
    • “People Who Know” (meaning “experts” or commentators in an industry or related to a query that Bing deems as relevant, regardless of whether they are within your network). For “People Who Know” the results aren’t personalized to you, just to your query, so all users will see the same results for the same queries.
    • Questions: This feature allows you to post a query or directly ask a particular person in your Facebook network if you need more information about whatever you’re searching for. Trying to find a restaurant suggestion? Ask your Facebook network from Bing’s interface. Want to know if the restaurant you’re looking at was good? Ask a specific Facebook friend who posted about a recent visit there what he personally thought about it.

Give Bing credit for timing and trying. In a timeframe where there was a lot happening in search (including Google Penguin and Knowledge Graph) they were in the game too. The new updates and features are neat, but the question always remains of whether it’s a game changer. Bing hasn’t been able to move the needle far or fast enough to truly be competitive to Google…yet. Time will only tell, but it appears to continue to be an uphill battle.

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