Search data indicates that people expect search engines to stay up-to-date on news: 60% of our customers use a search engine to get the details about a news story and 40% say their search engine is their “most important” resource for this key task. You come to us for world, US, entertainment and local news and you’ve given us feedback that we hadn’t met all of your needs and expectations. We’ve listened and have launched features that address some of your most critical pain points.
Improving relevance and the freshness of content was at the top of our “to do” list. I’d love to demonstrate the improvements via a link, but it would be out of date as soon as I posted this so you’ll have to let us know next time you search for a breaking story on Bing. We have made improvements to news query intent and the speed with which we index news articles.
We’ve also improved our local news experience. I grew up in a little town in the middle of the corn fields, Watseka, Illinois. Prior to this release Watseka was about as present in Bing News as Brigadoon. I now have my location set to Watseka so when I check my daily headlines, I can also find out about the fascinating happenings in my home town. Now Bing news can tell you what’s going on around you, even if you grew up in a town where today’s top headline is about the new sidewalks.
You will notice other changes on the Bing News homepage as well. You can easily tab through the details on the top stories, see more stories “above the fold” and get the details of local weather. Now it’s the perfect place to start your day: get the headlines, figure out what to wear based on the forecast, and really get into the details on stories that interest you the most.
For instance, let’s say that you are very interested in what Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is doing in Silicon Valley. We’ve revamped our “story page” for those times when you can’t get enough of a specific news event. As you can see below, there are several stories from different sources shown, initially sorted by best match. But you’ve been following this story all day and you want to know what’s been published since you last looked. You can either sort by “most recent” or look to the right for the most recently published stories. As you can see below the “latest stories” module, we now show you a timeline that indicates how many stories related to this topic were published as the week has progressed as well as how the news has changed. Most recently it looks like Cicso has made a big commitment. Customers have told us that getting the updates as a story progresses can be frustrating no matter where they get the news. This new experience makes it easier to stay fully informed.
Customers also tell us that news stories are one of the scenarios where blog and other social media meet their desire to get all the juicy details – especially for entertainment news. So let’s find out why Vienna and Jake are breaking up. A search for “Vienna Girardi” gives you the latest news on this story and also allows you to look to see what bloggers are saying and which news stories are most tweeted via Bing Social. I agree with Andy Dehnart though, schadenfreude might be the best part of this story. You can see his quote in the “People in the News” feature under the top stories.
Let us know if you have more ideas for improving Bing News. We’re always interested.
Jacquelyn Krones – Bing, Senior Product Manager
Other posts of interest:
Summer of Shopping
Bringing Timely Data to a Rich Health Search Experience
Investing Decisions Simplified with Bing
Bing Updates up Close
A New Entertainment Experience for Bing
Bing Gets a Fresh Look
Bing for iPhone Update