Menu
Bing adds context to people, places with 'snapshot' feature

Bing adds context to people, places with 'snapshot' feature

The tool shows results in a panel with related information from various sources

Bing's snapshot feature displays results as a card incorporating other related information.

Bing's snapshot feature displays results as a card incorporating other related information.

Bing is poised to function like a souped-up Yellow Pages, with visual search results offering more information about professionals such as lawyers and doctors.

The Microsoft-owned search engine announced an expansion Monday to its index of the Web, with 150 million new entities, including doctors, dentists, lawyers and real estate. Instead of just a link, results for those searches will be presented as a visual card with information such as the professional's specialty and education, as well as address and phone number.

Bing calls the display "snapshot," which is designed to provide more useful information at a glance while incorporating the connections between topics as Bing indexes more of the Web. The snapshot appears in the right panel of the results page.

The snapshot feature does not appear every time -- some searches for dentists still displayed the traditional layout of links Monday. But when it does work the information is useful, providing background experience from the person's LinkedIn profile, as well as lists of similar doctors, courtesy of public data from Vitals.com and the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System.

If Bing's snapshot feature sounds familiar, that's because Google, by far the dominant search engine, has been enhancing its presentation of search results for some time, as it moves to scale out its knowledge graph.

Bing, meanwhile, is working toward a similar goal, to deliver more contextual information that users may not have asked for, but that is interesting and useful. "While comprehensiveness is important, we are not only interested in the items themselves, but the relationships between them," said Richard Qian, of Bing's index and knowledge team, in the search engine's announcement.

To provide context, Bing pulls in data from services across the Web such as Wikipedia, LinkedIn, IMDB and Netflix. That means that searching for information about the actor Tom Cruise will display a card similar to a doctor or lawyer's, with details about his romantic relationships and movies.

Bing is also working to better understand natural language, so a search for "Who is the CEO of Apple?" returns "Tim Cook" at the top of the page.

Bing's language processing is also a work in progress. A search for "Who were former CEOs of Apple?" did not display any results front and center apart from links. (To be fair, Google didn't return anything beyond links with this query either.)

Bing also wants to become more anticipatory. The search engine said advancements in its natural user interface such as gesture and voice would allow it to proactively remind people to pick up dinner on the way home, or help users plan a vacation while keeping weather data and flight prices in mind.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediamobileMicrosoftinternetGooglesearch enginessocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments