Microsoft continues to chug along with updates to its Bing search platform. Today, the company announced the expansion of Intelligent Answer coverage, new features for hotel booking, enhanced weather results and new photo contest for their homepage images.
Starting off with the lighter fare, the new Bing image contest is being called the #AmplifyingIngenunity Urban Photo Contest and is intended to help the community of photography enthusiasts come together to showcase what makes their cities beautiful.
We just launched the #AmplifyIngenuity Urban Photo Contest, which gives Bing’s community of photography enthusiasts the opportunity to share their photos of amazing things in cities for a chance to be featured on the homepage. Whether it’s architecture, engineering, or pieces of urban technology, we are surrounded by examples of human ingenuity in the only environment created by and for people: the urban jungle.
The first-place winner wins the Urban Explorer Prize Pack, which includes a Surface Laptop, Sony a6500 camera and lens, Filson photographer’s backpack, $1000 airfare gift card, and a chance to have their picture featured on the Bing homepage! Visit our page for rules, entry, and a gallery of submissions. The contest runs through June 16th.
Next up are enhancements made to the forecast display in weather results from Bing. Users will now be able to see live radar mapping as well as the weather forecast of neighboring cities.
Now, on top of the usual forecast information, you can see a live radar map for the city of your interest, as well as easily accessible links to your favorite weather sites. Bing also provides information on nearby cities’ forecasts, and one for average temperature, rainfall, and snowfall, so you have full context on what to expect.
Booking a hotel through Bing just got a bit easier and done with fewer research steps involved thanks to an update to the booking experience. New features and enhancements to the booking experience include a full-page viewing display with price listings, location info, and ratings. Users will also be able to view an aggregated display of 3rd party booking sites such as Tripadvisor and Expedia sitting alongside the top Bing results.
Last up is what I consider the meat and potatoes of this latest update in the expanded intelligent answer coverage. Bing is doubling down on its search results by showing up to 5 websites that helped to verify the veracity of its results. Last December Microsoft introduced the Intelligent Answers system as a way to help independently verify that the answers users were seeing, were, in fact, the correct ones. The system is now expanding and increasing its list of verifiable websites to 5, which is up from the three previous intervals.
There is still a vast valley between the amount of traffic Bing receives in comparison to Google, but the small updates to Bing now seem more like part of an interconnected webbing that will eventually see its self-evolve from Smartphone and desktop use to increasing ambient computing where information is almost effortlessly surfaced.