Timeline: Understanding Important Events in People’s Lives

At Bing we are continuing to expand our collection of entities (people, places and things) and deepen our understanding about them. Our goal is to provide you with more insight into these entities so you can quickly discover useful information and in turn, get things done faster when you search on Bing.

Introducing Timeline

Over the past few weeks, we have been rolling out a new feature called “Timeline” that takes these efforts further. We now show you important events in the timeline of influential or famous people’s lives. In the case of Henry Ford, we highlight several events of Henry’s life including his marriage and early career of farming and running a saw-mill in 1888, incorporating the Ford Motor Company in 1903, and his retirement from the company in 1918.


Another timely example of this can be found around Olympic athletes. In the case of Ashley Wagner, who is skating in the Sochi games, a simple search of her name yields a chronology of her career leading to this year’s Olympics.


Some lives have more unusual sign posts than others. Take the life of Vincent Van Goghwho toiled in obscurity until his works were rediscovered and appreciated after his death. Here the timeline displays pivotal moves and patrons that propelled his painting career.


Our algorithm has generated timelines for about half of a million famous people and is constantly adding to the list. In cases where our data indicates you would be more interested in another type of information we will not show the timeline which saves space and reduces page load times. For instance, for many actors and singers, their movies and songs may be more interesting than the events of their lives.

We hope you find this feature useful. Please give it a try and let us know what you think (@Bing.)

Thank you.

Dr. Richard Qian, Bing Index and Knowledge Team

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