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Bing adds Qwiki videos to search results as drive to close gap on Google continues

Microsoft today added more updates to its Bing search engine with videos from startup Qwiki.

Qwiki, which launched in January 2011 with Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as a backer, pulls together "interactive presentations combining images, videos, maps and spoken narration." Basically, that translates into brief video versions of search results, which will now be attached to certain Bing returns.

If you search for "Paris," for example, there will be a small "Paris - Watch the Qwiki" icon underneath the city's Wikipedia entry. Click the play button and a video will start to play, giving an overview of the city - population stats, history, and more. As the rather robotic Qwiki voice gives her speech, screen shots from the websites where her information was obtained will pop up. Click one to get more information in a separate window, but if that's not what you're looking for, shut the window and go back to the Qwiki.

"Qwikis are a gateway for further exploration that offer a unique, visual experience to help you quickly get information and do more," Microsoft said in a post on the Bing blog.

The idea with Qwikis, as well as the pop-up "snapshot" feature recently added to Bing, is to make it easier to "take action directly from the page," Microsoft said.

Initially Qwikis will only appear below Wikipedia results, but Microsoft promised "deeper integration to follow in the coming months" as it bids to catch up with Google.

Last month, Microsoft dramatically revamped its Bing search results page, adding a "sidebar" that will allow users to interact with knowledgeable friends on a variety of topics. It rolled out to all users on 1 June.

The Bing integration comes about a month after Qwiki launched its publishing platform, which allows any media organisation, publisher, or blogger to create their own Qwikis. US broadcaster ABC News was the first media organisation to use Qwiki, with videos focused on tech, entertainment, and travel.