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Higher Education Marketing

Bing Adds Adaptive Search and Action Buttons

Date posted: September 22, 2011

Fresh from reports claiming that Microsoft has lost 5.5 billion dollars on Bing so far, the upstart search engine has announced two new changes in the last week. As always, these changes are an attempt to find some sort of chink in Google’s armor.

The first change is called adaptive search. It is a way to personalize search results based on users’ search history. “The more you search, the more Bing can learn,” Bing posted on their blog. “And (Bing can) use that information to adapt the experience so you can spend less time searching and accomplish what you set out to do.”

The example they used was of a search for the word “Australia.” For travel fanatics, search results will rank tourism information about the country higher on the page; for movie buffs, information about the film “Australia” would place higher.

Google has a similar feature called “previous query.” Bing’s adaptive search, however, seems to be slightly more sophisticated.

Check out this video from WebProNews for more information on Bing’s adaptive search.

Today, the Bing team have announced another new feature: Action Buttons, which takes their concept of “deep links” a little further. Here’s what they had to say about their Action Buttons:

Now when you search across 7 popular categories – including airlines, couriers (e.g. FedEx), restaurants, banks, rental cars, software downloads and hotels – you will be presented with buttons for top actions on the site, that directly take you to the page where you can complete your task.

Based on how people search, our algorithms now determine top actions and corresponding links in the site for a given category with high precision. For instance, with airlines the top 3 tasks are: check-in to a flight, check the status of a flight or book a flight. For software sites, if you are searching for a specific product you likely want to download it. For car rental agencies, you’d like to rent a car, find out locations or contact them.

Interesting stuff. The question, however, is if it will make a difference.