Trying New Approaches to Social and Community Search

At Bing, we believe that for every search there is someone who can help. During the last year, we’ve introduced features that pull knowledge from friends and experts alongside traditional search results and are continuing to explore the intersection of social and the collective community of the web to help people do more with their experience.

On any given day, Bing runs hundreds of experiments that help us improve the search experience.  Most are nearly invisible, ranging from small tweaks to the search algorithm, to changes in our ad selection, to optimizations in the color, size, and placement of features.

In addition to minor tests, we also try out more noticeable features to determine whether they are helpful, engaging, and informative. We are currently testing several of these features, which a limited number of people may notice over the next few months. Although people can’t opt-in to experiments, if you do notice something different, we encourage you to give it a try.

Introducing Bing Boards

While we won’t announce every experiment, today we wanted to put the spotlight on one called Bing Boards. Most people spend at least some time every day on sites dedicated to a particular area in which they have a special interest.  It could be a hobby, a political or social issue, an area of pop culture: the topics are as varied as the people who are interested in them. Now, in the same way that we’ve brought knowledge from friends and recognized experts into search, we’re providing a new way for passionate people to create highly specialized content, specifically for search.

What is a Bing Board? Bing Boards are visual collections of images, videos and links that tell a story from a unique point of view. They are created by people who are passionate about the topics they blog, write or talk about – not companies or algorithms. Bing Boards are designed to be complementary to web search results, appearing in the middle column of Bing, and are aimed to help people to discover new, visually rich content.

Who exactly is creating Bing Boards?  At the moment, we’re working with a small group of food and lifestyle bloggers, experts and social influencers that have helped us iterate and evolve the experience. As more people create and interact with Bing Boards over time, we’ll evaluate and determine how to broaden and evolve the offerings. To learn more about Bing Boards check out thisBing Explore page.

To get an idea of how Bing Boards appear, search for “photo booth backdrop” to see a board created by Chelsea Costa from Lovely Indeed.

boards

This is the first of several upcoming social and community experiments.  If you see something new, play with it and see what happens – your interest might help make it a permanent part of Bing.

- Chen Fang, Program Manager, Bing Experiences