Find The Turkey – Search Developments For The Festive Season

There is a raft of new search options that have just been released.  Finding that Xmas Turkey and sharing the best place to go for a festive dinner just go a whole lot easier.

The first announcement involves some tweaks to Google’s realtime search.  The trend graph and date options have been relocated and a new feature, Top updates, has been added.

Matt McGee
of Search Engine Land is of the opinion that these are the URLs and tweets that are most popular among Twitter users (which appears to be the only source populating Google Realtime).

Meanwhile over the Bing stable the developers have also been busy.  The most interesting feature tweak just announced are results that will show which of your Facebook friends have liked search results as they appear in your searches.

As the Bing development team have put it:

“Over the last several weeks, we introduced the new “Liked” results feature that uses the basis of your query to surmise your intent and surface relevant stories or websites  that your friends on Facebook have liked with a nice answer, called out somewhere on the page”.

” Starting today, if your search results include a specific link that has also been “liked” by someone in your Facebook network the link will be highlighted as “Liked” within Bing.  This gets especially interesting for a query like “Xbox” where my friend “Liked” the “Kinect” site and while our algorithms didn’t feel it was relevant enough to make it the ‘answer’ we reference above, we are still able to indicate that my friend liked that link that happened to show up within the results”

With this development Bing has got the jump on Google for regular web search. After all in today’s social media it is Facebook data that matters most.

Chris Crum of WebProNews says:

With people constantly “liking” content all over the web, this can be a great indicator of relevance on a personalized level. It’s going to catch your attention when you notice your friend appear in the search results.”

Other new Bing features include a partnership with Fansnap so If you’re searching for sports tickets, soon you will be able to compare tickets from over fifty  tickets sites.

Image search is made easier with a feature called Instant Search that delivers a montage of images on main results page. Bing has also populated the tabs with the most common search queries associated with a given image.

Bing’s maps have also been given a makeover.  There is a new style which shows:

  • Increased city density while preserving a clean, visually appealing map
  • Clearer differentiation between major and minor city streets
  • Greater color contrast at the city-level so streets “pop” out more
  • Altered font sizes and contrast for crisper, less cluttered map labels
  • Improved highway shields for US and added new shields for 7 countries

Add to these the following:

  • Interior Views: Providing users with immersive 360-degree panoramas of local businesses
  • OpenTable Integration: Users can interact with OpenTable and GrubHub directly from restaurant pages
  • Real Time Transit on Mobile: Gives users real time info if a bus is on-time or delayed
  • Streetside for Mobile: Brings users street-level imagery + some mobile-exclusive enhancements

Search development has always had a tight focus on the User Experience and this is evident in what both Google and Bing have announced this Dececember.

Impressive as these developments are, Bing’s challenge remains;  Can they grab market share from the consumers current engine of choice – Google?

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region.
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