Brad Sams at Neowin is reporting that Bing is working on a new way to improve Bing search engine results by incorporating human curated answers, in a new program named, or code named, “Distill”. For longtime Microsoft followers, you may recall that Microsoft has tried something similar before, in what became “Windows Live QnA”, at that time an attempt to replicate the popular Yahoo! Answers feature while bringing those search results back into Bing (or Live Search, at the time).
What appears to be different about this go-round, at least what little we know of it as described by Sams, is that Bing itself would apparently initiate the questions, to be answered by users, and then vetted by Bing to filter out erroneous responses:
What sources told Neowin is that the engine is looking to take common and complex queries and present them to users to answer the question. The user will then provide the result which can then be integrated in Bing results.
This new approach could prove to be more successful than the short lived QnA, which relied not only on user answers but user initiated questions. If, as Sams speculates it might, Bing ties “Distill” in somehow with say Bing Rewards, users may even be provided incentives to correctly answer questions. QnA too devised a rewards system, but it was never enough to get users interested in using the service.
Neowin reports that the service could go live “soon-ish”, that is if it survives internal testing, or it could not ever see the light of day. If it does, however, “Distill” could prove helpful in providing answers to both obscure and newly surfaced questions, the types that automated search engines of today have difficulty with.Further reading: Bing, Microsoft