Microsoft has announced some changes to the way its Bing search engine displays information when users search for people. It now provides more biographical information for famous people and includes links to information from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Klout.
Computerworld’s Zach Miners reported, “Bing is incorporating more information from outside social networks such as Facebook and Twitter into how it displays search results involving people. The changes are designed to give users at-a-glance answers to their search queries while at the same time highlighting the relationships between results, Bing announced Thursday in a blog post. When searching for famous people or celebrities, for instance, social information from Facebook, Twitter and Klout will be added to Snapshot, the center column of Bing’s search results page that originally launched last June.”
CNET’s Donna Tam added, “When you search for people in Bing it brings up their Wikipedia entry — or, if they don’t have an entry, their LinkedIn profile — in a Snapshot box alongside its results. The box will also have shortcut buttons to the person’s various social media accounts. The Snapshot box is powered by Bing’s Satori technology, which sounds similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph.”
TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois noted, “The updated Bing doesn’t just show this information, though. It also makes it available through complex natural language queries like ‘Who won best actor in 2009?’ The search engine is smart enough to understand that you are talking about the Oscars and knows that you are probably looking for Sean Penn. Because it also knows more about places, you can also ask it ‘What is the deepest lake in the world?’ and get the answer immediately. For many of these questions, it is worth noting, Google doesn’t find an answer in its Knowledge Graph, though there are obviously some parallels between Knowledge Graph and Microsoft’s Satori project, which forms the basis of today’s updates.”
ReadWrite’s Mark Hachman observed, “One quirk, however, is that for right now Bing treats some individuals differently than others, which may be a bit jarring. For example, a search for ‘Abraham Lincoln’ nets small but high-value collection of biographical content: his date of birth, death, his height, spouse, children, even his first love. As one would expect, there is no mention of any Facebook pages, Twitter feed, or online resume. If you search for more ordinary joes, you’re apt to receive results like those described above: an index picture pulled from the subject’s LinkedIn profile, social feeds, et cetera. It gets a little bit odd, however, when searching for someone like Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who is treated as a celebrity. While it’s nice to know Zuck’s birthday (May 14) and how tall he is (5 feet, 9 inches) the lack of a link to his Facebook or Twitter page is a bit jarring, especially for a social media CEO.”