Bing enhances its Snapshot search technology

Alan Buckingham
Mar 21, 2013

In June of 2012 Microsoft added the "Snapshot" feature to its Bing search engine, which enables answers at a glance in the center column of the search results page. Richard Qian, of the Bing team describes the feature as being "designed to develop deep understanding of the world around us not only as a collection of entities (people, places and things) but also the relationships between those entities".

Today Microsoft rolled out some enhancements to this service, which it hopes will make its Google competitor a better option for customers.

The first enhancement is to the People feature of Snapshot. Here Bing has added enhancements to searches done for celebrities, professionals and friends. Users searching for professionals now will find information on things such as where they went to school, where they have worked and also related searches for people.

As for famous people, such as celebrities and athletes, Bing has added social information from Facebook, Twitter and Klout. Also, like other people searches, Bing will now display what other people who searched for the individual also search for. When you hover over the "People also search for" photos, you'll see an explanation of how each is related to that celebrity or athlete.

bing places search

As for place searches, such as landmarks, parks, cities, mountains and the like, there will be people related data as well. For instance, if you search for Mt. Everest you will get a link for Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to scale the famous peak. This feature will now also answer queries phrase as questions -- like "what is the tallest building in the world?"

Qian concludes that "Together, these updates provide you with a greater level of understanding about the world we all live in, which we hope will make Bing more useful to your everyday life. This is a long journey, and we expect to deliver a number of additional improvements in the weeks and months ahead".


Bing is continuing to improve at rate that seems faster than Google. And, given the recent bad will Google has generated, Bing may be a very worthy replacement for your search needs.


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  1. Alan said on March 22, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I’ve used Bing exclusively for years. I’ve been very happy with it. I tend not to jump from browser to browser, and I’m just not a Google fan.

  2. Ken Saunders said on March 22, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I’ve been pretty happy with Bing overall. I was very impressed by the fact that I got a personal email reply when contacting support. They still need some things that I miss from Google, but I’m doing ok without them.

    I’ll share the email to enlighten others about their date filtering.

    ” Hello Ken,
    Good day! My name is Ryan and I am happy to assist you on your issue regarding the filter date on Bing search engine.

    As I understand, the same feature on the other search engine is not available on Bing and we thank you for your kind feedback.

    While this is useful to users like you, the ability to filter by date doesn’t show consistently in the BING Search Engine Results Page by design. More general queries (like “dogs” for instance) don’t show the filter by date option, while a more specific query (like “german shepherd rescue dogs”) will. There is currently no option to make this available for all queries.

    There is a trick to always ensuring that you have the sort by date filter even for general searches and that is to add the &tbs=qdr:d parameter to the end of the query string. For instance, here’s the filter enabled for “dogs” query:

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 22, 2013 at 3:45 am

      Thanks Ken, this inspired me to write a new article.

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