Microsoft is desperate for us to ditch Google and embrace Bing, its search engine competitor, and to help tempt more people to make the switch it has announced a number of new features.
First of all, Bing’s ‘intelligent answers’ feature, which was added last year, is being improved. When you ask Bing a question it searches a number of websites, then gives you the most common answer, and with the latest update the feature is being expanded in the US and UK to cover more users, and will now show up to five websites that support the most common answer.
The idea is to give people a more reliable answer, as the website at the top of the search results may not always be the most reliable source.
Microsoft is also making it easier to book hotels through Bing, so you don’t have to search a number of websites to find the best deal. When you search for a hotel in a particular area, you can now click on one of the options Bing provides and you’ll be presented with a page containing all sorts of information, including price, location, rating and the availability on the dates you’re looking for.
You’ll also see an aggregated view of results from popular booking sites like Expedia and Tripadvisor, so once you’ve made your decision you can quickly click to book your stay with the cheapest option.
Microsoft promises that this is part of its ongoing investment to make booking hotels easier, and that more updates will be coming soon.
Better weather forecasts
Microsoft has also improved how Bing displays the weather forecast for your local area, or any area you search for. As well as displaying the usual forecast information there’s now also a live radar map of the area you’re searching to give you a better idea of what the weather will be like.
Bing also displays forecasts for nearby cities, as well as information on average temperature, rainfall and snowfall, to help you plan your days out.
Microsoft has been working hard on improving Bing, and while it’s still a long way from overtaking Google (Netmarketshare currently has Google on 72.8% with Bing on 7.7%), it is showing steady progress.
We’re pleased to see Microsoft attempt to win over users by adding more features (which you can read about more on the Bing blog), rather than trying to strong-arm people who use Windows 10 into using the search engine, but will this be enough to make people switch?