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Bing and Encyclopedia Britannica partner to provide better answers

Microsoft's empire now includes Encyclopedia Britannica, which recently signed on to participate in Bing's answers page.

The search engine on Thursday announced a new partnership with the encyclopaedia, a move that will display Britannica Online information directly on Bing's results page. This deal builds on Britannica's decision in March to stop publishing its 244-year run of print volumes. It also follows Bing's recent website redesign.

The new integration is built into Bing's answers feature, where a snippet of information gives users a quick look at search results before digging any deeper.

"We are excited about how new instant answers from Britannica Online delivers relevant information in a more organized way that helps people find information more quickly," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

A quick subject overview, a thumbnail image and what Bing principal development lead Franco Salvetti called "useful facts and figures" make it easier to get trusted search content, Bing's blog said, including Wikipedia, Freebase and Qwiki. Direct links to other sites are included in the results. "We're very excited to collaborate with Encyclopedia Britannica as it continues to strengthen its online presence," Salvetti wrote. He added that Bing hopes users will find the new answers valuable and helpful.

One comment on the site's blog expressed interest, saying that the new feature could be especially helpful "to those who do not fully trust in Wikipedia."

In May, Google announced its new discovery feature, which offers users a snapshot-like results panel, similar to Bing.

The direct comparison to Google's Knowledge Graph is the Satori-powered snapshot, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. Satori extracts data from the unstructured information on web pages to create a structured database of objects and the relationship between them all to help people take action, she said.

Search Engine Land pointed out notable differences between the two search engine upgrades, reporting that Google's Knowledge Graph boxes pop up more often than Bing's Britannica-powered listings and that Bing links to more third-party sites than Google, which primarily leads users to new Google searches.