Redmond, Washington -- Hot on the heels of Google's Knowledge Graph announcement, software behemoth Microsoft's Bing in its quest for knowledge, last week announced that it has partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica to work on a new feature that will integrate Britannica Online on the search results pages of Bing when they search.
While the concept is pretty identical, Microsoft is introducing a nifty feature that will give Bing users useful information related to their questions and keywords without having to visit a webpage. Bing's knowledge effort is apparent itself in slightly different ways--Knowledge Graph gives users a box of useful information to the right of the search results, while tidbits from Encyclopedia Britannica will be included directly underneath search results in a 'summary box'.
Microsoft portrays the new “answers feature” as a snippet of information designed to give users a quick look at what they are searching for while providing the option to dig deeper into more results.
“A vital focus for us here at Bing has been about delivering relevant information in a more organized way to help you find what you need more quickly and get stuff done,” Bing's principal development lead Franco Salvetti wrote in a blog post.
“Starting today, we are excited about how new instant answers from Britannica Online delivers relevant information in a more organized way that helps people find information more quickly,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said.
Now, alongside all other results -- similar to Wikipedia and Web pages -- users will see a box of information with an image linking to results from Britannica's online encyclopedia.
The deal comes at a good time for the encyclopedia--as after 244 years of printing volumes of books, Encyclopedia Britannica brought their publishing business to a halt in March and moved into the digital age to become an online and computer-only presence. With this revamp, the company has sought to make its digital packaging even more expansive than its books with multimedia materials, educational tools, and features like full-text searching.
Endorsing closer ties with Bing will encourage web users to see EB as a trusted source on the net. This new incorporation is built into Bing's answers feature, where a snippet of information gives users a quick look at search results before digging any deeper.
In fact, users will be able to get a quick subject overview, a thumbnail image, and what Bing Salvetti called 'useful facts and figures' make it easier to get trusted search content, Bing's blog said, including Wikipedia, Freebase, and Qwiki. Direct links to other sites are included in the results.
What the Encyclopedia Britannica search results look like on Bing. (Credit: Bing)
For instance, when “Giordano Bruno” is entered into search, users can see in the search results that he was an Italian philosopher, astronomer, and occultist from the 1500s who was executed by burning. From there, the user can opt to click on the link and learn more or move on.
This collaboration also brings an opportunity for Bing to keep up with rival Google--both Knowledge Graph and Bing's EB tie-in give users fast access to a quick overview of particular search queries.