I have a confession to make. Over the past few months of Reflect Round-ups I’ve been biased in my reporting. I’ve been favouring one particular search engine at the expense of others. This was wrong of me. Yes, that particular search engine has the vast majority of UK searches conducted on it every single day and yes, it is often considered synonymous with search engines themselves. But, that doesn’t mean the other engines aren’t doing exciting new things. So for this Reflect Round-up, the last one before Christmas, I want to right that wrong. I want to turn the spotlight on Bing. In fact, I’m not even going to mention… that other search engine…
Bing is reported as having anywhere between 5% and 20% of the search market in the UK, more towards the early double figures realistically. Christmas is a particularly exciting time for Bing. People get shiny new electronics at Christmas, and if any of them run Microsoft software you can bet they are using Edge as their default browser. And with Edge comes… yup…Bing. It would be interesting to see what the spike in Bing usage looks like over the Christmas period.
So, it’s Bing’s time to shine. What’s new with it?
Reddit has recently partnered with Microsoft, which will allow Bing to provide better search results for Reddit content. Users of Reddit will know that their internal search functionality has not gone without some criticism so it makes sense that they would allow their content to be more accessible through an external search provider.
The partnership, apparently the result of two years of courtship, will see Bing provide Reddit content at the top of its search results where it deems it most relevant. The Reddit content will sit in a dedicated section in Bing’s search results page which will allow for easier discovery of Reddit content.
Although the social media platform’s users have traditionally been very vocal about the use of the website for commercial purposes it does mean that if you do manage to get your content on the site it will likely be promoted to the top of Bing’s search results if it is deemed relevant to the query.
What is perhaps most interesting about this partnership is that Bing has been in the spotlight recently for losing notable partnerships, such as its agreement with Apple that saw it being the default search engine for Siri, so to hear that Microsoft has been working for 2 years to secure this deal with Reddit gives us an idea of what the search engine’s priorities are. Bing has said in the past that it uses social media signals for ranking and now it has access to Reddit’s API it has a wealth of those user signals to learn from.
In other Bing news, the search engine has recently introduced new search result types. These results aim to provide answers to queries directly into the search results without the need for users to click through to a webpage for those answers. Seem familiar?
Where these intelligent answers differ from its rival’s featured snippets are through formats like their “perspectives from the web” that provides the user with two possible answers of differing perspectives for questions that lend themselves to opinionated answers.
Bing also claims its intelligent answers use state of the art machine reading comprehension and deep neural networks to aggregate content across the web to provide these answers.