Bing Search Gets Conversational

Sometimes a single question sparks additional queries, spurring Internet users to seek even more information. And that's the premise behind one of the latest development at Bing.

In a blog post on August 13, Bing says it added functionality that will continue the conversation after users find the answers they seek in Bing's search results.

Bing uses the example of the question, "Who is the president of the United States?"

The search engine will display the answer and if that inspires additional questions, like, "Who is his wife?" or "How tall is he?" Bing says it will maintain the context of the original question and keep the conversation moving forward.

In other words, it will display, "Michelle Obama," and, "6 feet 1 inch," without requiring users to specify whose wife or height they are inquiring about all over again.

Bing says this lets users ask questions the way they would ask their friends for information and notes this most recent development combines conversational understanding with its knowledge repository, which includes information on billions of people, places, and things. That, in turn, allows users to "dive and learn more about a topic or interest," Bing says.

"These improvements build on extensive work we have done to build out the Bing platform including investments in entity and conversational understanding," writes Yan Ke, principal development lead of the Bing Relevance Team, in the post. "This is a long journey, and we expect to deliver a number of additional improvements in the days ahead."

In May 2013, Google unveiled conversational search at its Google I/O conference.

Google's conversational search, however, also includes search by voice functionality, in which users can talk to the search engine by clicking the microphone in the search box and then Google speaks the results.