Bing Search does equations and text transcriptions now

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 19, 2018
Internet, Search

Microsoft's Bing Search engine is doing quite well as we have found out in 2017 and it should not come as a surprise that Microsoft updates the search engines functionality regularly to compete with the almighty Google Search engine.

The company's Bing team teased a large number of improvements and new features in a new blog post on the official Bing blog called "This month on Bing: Visual Search expanded, Education, American Sign Language, and more".

Some of the features and improvements are available already, at least for certain user groups, while others will become available later.

Solve mathematical equations

Probably the most exciting new feature is Bing's Math Solver. It is part of the Bing application for Apple's iOS operating system and soon also for Bing on Android.

Anyone may use the new functionality to take a photo of mathematical equations to use Bing to solve them automatically.

All that it takes is to take a picture of the equation and tap on the new "Math" button in the interface to have it solved. Bing won't just throw the solution at you but it will provide step by step instructions on how it got there.

Also onboard are links to educational sites such as the Kahn Academy website to watch lectures and grow mathematical skills.

Text Transcriptions

The second new feature, which will be added to the iOS version of Bing in the coming weeks, adds options to transcribe text automatically to Bing.

The feature works similarly to the Math Solver: take a picture of text, select the Text option, and use copy or search options that are provided to copy the text to the Clipboard, share it, or run searches automatically.

Other changes

bin image search

The following changes were made to the Bing website. Note that the changes may only available in select regions such as the United States.

You can change the region with a click on Menu > Settings > Country & Region > Change your country/region, and selecting a different country or region from the listing.

  • Images Search's dialog box supports dragging and dropping images, pasting URLs or taking a photo.
  • Set of science, math and language tools added to Bing in "carousel" format. Selection of an entry, e.g. human skeleton, displays information directly on the search results page.
  • New Sign Language experience on Bing. Experience offers 159 videos of words and 13 phrases in American Sign Language.
  • Answers for NFL questions such as "which team had the most touchdowns". Bing's database contains stats from Season 2000 onward.

Closing Words

Bing improves with every update. While Android users will have to wait for Math Solver to become available, it is certainly something that could be interesting to children and also adults who have a hard time understanding math.

That Bing displays step-by-step explanations and not just the solution is great as it may help understand how mathematical equations are solved.

Now You: What is your take on the announced improvements?

Bing Search does equations and text transcriptions now
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Bing Search does equations and text transcriptions now
Microsoft's Bing team revealed a number of new features and improvements in September 2018 including Math Solver and Text Transcription tools.
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  1. jern said on September 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Martin writes…
    Probably the most exciting new feature is Bing’s Math Solver. It is part of the Bing application for Apple’s iOS operating system,,,

    Actually, Apple’s iOS already has that feature. It’s built into the iOS search utility. On an iPad you draw your finger down from the top of the screen which brings up search. Tap on the entry line and iOS brings up a keyboard that allows mathematical entry.

    Once again, MS imitates.

  2. Clairvaux said on September 20, 2018 at 1:13 am

    My default search engines are Start Page, then Duck Duck Go, but I find myself coming back to Google when a search is difficult or I need better results. Nothing scientific, just a feeling that gets confirmed day after day. I haven’t used Bing enough, but that equations stunt is typical of why computers are just great, and people keep coming with exciting new ideas to put them to better use.

  3. ShintoPlasm said on September 19, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I am constantly peeved at the love which Bing gives its US users. I know that’s their biggest market, but it won’t help them win over many new users if all the nice features remain US-only. Google’s very good at rolling out new features and updates to most regional versions, so kudos to them.

  4. MarkMyWords said on September 19, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I stick with MetaGer ( Not fancy, but the results are far better than the ad-driven junk served by Google and Microsoft.

    1. Duckeenie said on September 19, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      You have to be joking!

      Here’s my search for technology news using your suggestion:

      Here’s Google’s results(using ublock):….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..1.15.1103.0…0.WwrWa_LJBSw

      The results using your suggestion are barely even loosely related to my search terms.

  5. ilev said on September 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    No one uses Bing on iOS, and I don’t think Android users use it as well.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      When I’m searching on Android, I mostly use DDG and occasionally use Bing. I never use Google from a mobile device because Google insists on giving me those damned AMP links.

  6. Weilan said on September 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    There are so many nice search engines, but none of them seem to have as relevant results as Google does. For me this is a reason to stick with Google, because I tried using some of them – Ecosia, Qwant, DuckDuckGo, Bing, but it just doesn’t work out.

    Let’s say I’m playing The Elder Scrolls Online and I have an issue with the Treasure Map 3 location in Bangkorai, so I type in “eso bangkorai treasure map” and if it’s in Google, I can usually find the result on the first page in a matter of 5 seconds tops. If I use any other search engine, I will have to go to page 3, 4 and still may find nothing relevant.

    So the more specific your searches get, the more you realize how those search engines aren’t on par with Google. And you may be at work and you have to find some information on the internet really fast, because your job is on the line, if you use Google, you will find it pretty fast, but with other search engines… you better start looking for a new job rather than waste time searching.

    1. ULBoom said on September 20, 2018 at 4:06 am

      DDG uses google anonymously. Agree that using google directly seems to give the best results, not sure why there is a difference.

      1. John Fenderson said on September 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm


        DDG uses about 400 different search engines and other sources simultaneously, Google being just one of them, and not even the most important one.

    2. TelV said on September 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm


      I agree with you there. Other search engines such as Ecosia which is the default in Waterfox just don’t find relevant results for a given subject as quickly as Google does.

      Also, Ecosia lacks the kind of filters which come standard in Google such as the ability to do a custom search between specific dates or even just over the course of the past year. All you get with Ecosia are “Anytime”, “24 hours”, “Past week” and “Past month”. Leaving it on “Anytime” returns irrelevant results from anywhere from four to more than ten years ago. It’s exactly the same for DDG.

      Startpage which everyone keeps raving about also lacks the option to do a custom search.

      I note though that Bing has at least added “Custom search” as an option now which enables users to search over a specific period of time.

      My only gripe with Google is that it displays country-specific search results. I live in the Netherlands, but sometimes want to check the price of something in the UK which is next to impossible unless I use my VPN to switch my location to that country.

      1. Anonymous said on September 20, 2018 at 10:45 am

        @ TelV

        Ecosia is no longer the default in Waterfox, it’s Bing now.

      2. TelV said on September 20, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        @Anonymous ,

        Actually I noticed that yesterday when I made a new profile, but thought it must have been a mistake.

        Odd that the dev doesn’t mention the change anywhere in his blog.

    3. John Fenderson said on September 19, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      @Weilan: “none of them seem to have as relevant results as Google does”

      This stopped being true for me a few years ago. The results that Google search provides these days tend to be no better (and sometimes worse) that those of DDG, and the decline in quality is continuing.

      I never thought I’d say this, but even Bing works better for me these days than Google.

    4. Anonymous said on September 19, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      If you really want the search results of Google you can also use Startpage, it’s Google without the tracking.

      1. Alex said on September 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        @Anonymous “If you really want the search results of Google you can also use Startpage, it’s Google without the tracking.”

        One of the main reasons Google results are good, is user tracking. So, I’m not sure you could ever have “Google without the tracking”. Google search is one thing, getting Google results is a bit different.

      2. Liz McIntyre said on September 24, 2018 at 5:12 pm

        Hi, Alex. serves Google search results *without* the tracking. This is actually a benefit because it keeps users out of the “Filter Bubble.” Here’s an article that elaborates on this:

        And thanks to “Anonymous” for recommending for search privacy!

      3. Anonymous said on September 21, 2018 at 9:22 am

        “One of the main reasons Google results are good, is user tracking.”

        This is like saying that you prefer personalized ads because they are more likely to interest you, even if that means that Google is reading your mail (or tracking your searches) in the process. You do not measure the cost in fundamental human rights of this little extra “convenience”, because it’s not clearly visible to you here and now.

      4. Alex said on September 21, 2018 at 1:02 pm

        @Anonymous, don’t get carried away with “human rights” etc. I never said I like or agree with user tracking. Do we all agree that Google offers excellent results, perhaps even the best of all current search engines? I’m sure most would agree.

        I only said that, apart from Google’s smart programmers, the above is a direct result of Google knowing where you are, what you do, what you like and what you browse. Using Chrome also helps them quite a lot. All this information allows them to provide relative (= perceived as “good”) search results.

        Whether one agrees with this practice is another matter. I was merely replying to a comment stating you can have “Google results” by leaving Google out of the equation.

      5. John Fenderson said on September 24, 2018 at 6:31 pm

        @Alex: “Do we all agree that Google offers excellent results, perhaps even the best of all current search engines?”


      6. Alex said on September 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

        @John Fenderson, so you are saying Google results are bad, irrelevant and unhelpful? Interesting. What search engine(s) you prefer then?

      7. Anonymous said on September 21, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        @ Alex
        I don’t think that the efficiency of a search engine depends primarily on personalized results, no. Note that even if we’re temporarily forgetting the very bad moral and political problems associated with tracking, this can also actually lower the quality of results, as an effect of the bubble phenomenon. Personally I would consider as more accurate results that are not depending on my previous searches of the last years. But in some cases I agree that this could help (although again, we agree that the cost is not acceptable). Several search engines do even sell themselves as not having the bubble effect, even in their name like the “Unbubble” engine.

      8. Clairvaux said on September 21, 2018 at 12:27 am

        @ Alex : “One of the main reasons Google results are good, is user tracking.”

        Very interesting remark.

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