Every search engine wants to be more relevant. However, what is relevant to you might not be relevant to someone else. Further, many search terms can take on different meanings. “Summertime” might mean sun and heat to some, cold and snow or any number of song titles from George Gershwin to Will Smith to other people.
Bing currently personalizes results based on your location and Facebook relationships (if you’re signed in). Bing yesterday announced a new solution to returning more relevant results to its users. They call it Adaptive Search. Bing will keep a history of your searches and will soon use it to understand what information you’re actively searching for.
Bing doesn’t want to make their results less diverse, or lock you out of seeing certain content because of your search history – the so-called filter bubble. However, they want to personalize the results you see, based on your varying interest levels, as suggested by your search history.
A Microsoft spokesperson recently told Search Engine Watch Bing endeavors “to only use the relevant search history to personalize content and provide searchers with the most relevant results.”
Currently, Bing will limit the history to the past 28 days if you aren’t signed into Bing. If you are signed into use Bing, 18 months of search history will be used.
However, Bing recognizes that not everyone might be keen on this idea. To opt-out, go to the Bing Search History Page and turn it off.
Bing stressed to Search Engine Watch that you do have the ability to clear the contents of your search history. This can be done by clicking the “Search History” link from the top of the Bing home page and clicking the linked marked “Clear” from the left column links. You can even choose to remove individual items from search history list.
You also have the ability turn the feature on and off at will. Meaning you can opt-out of recording history of some searches, without losing your full history. This could be quite useful for limiting the adaptive search results. More information regarding search history and how to control in Bing’s Search History help documentation.
Bing will be rolling out adaptive search content within the next few days to U.S. users. Will you use it, or opt-out? Let us know in the comments below.