Being a Super Villain Just Got Easier with Bing Snapshots

Bing have added two new categories to their ‘snapshot’ search results – namely, people and landmarks. A boxed result akin to ‘Snapshots’ called ‘Places’ were previously in the main organic results and functioned as drivers to the places category of search result.

With this latest change to landmarks, the information has moved to the second column to become “more actionable” according to a Bing spokesperson. Places results can still be found simply by clicking ‘attractions’.

People and places snapshots strongly resemble Google’s Knowledge Graph cards, but it is worth noting that Bing’s Snapshots were released a week before Google’s Knowledge Graph. Bing told Search Engine Watch (SEW) that this latest update was prompted by the fact that a huge volume of their search queries are about people or places. Perhaps these new ‘snapshots’ will encourage users to explore a topic further.

Certainly, I found a search for “Nikola Tesla” surfaced more specific further research leads from the snapshot than the main result set.

Nikola Tesla results on Bing

Now, as you can see in the example above, a “people also searched for” set of results appear in the snapshots. For people, this often includes other people, but in places, other landmarks will be suggested as well as restaurants, hotels, local, movies, events, and celebrities.

Like Google, Bing Snapshots are primarily pulling data from Wikipedia and Freebase. It’s interesting because Freebase is owned by Google now, but the core service remains free and open – so much so that Bing is allowed to use it despite tension between the two companies regarding their latest Scroogled campaign.

However, Bing is using the data in their own way. Fictional characters definitely have more prominence and the equivalent searches do not surface Knowledge Graph “cards” on Google.

Bruce Wayne results on Bing

You can have a bit of fun playing around to see if Bing knows the superhero identity of comic book characters. Basically if the Joker had used Bing there wouldn’t have been much need for Bane – in the screenshot above, Bing calls it that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Similarly searches for Peter Parker or Keyser Soze reveal more info about the comic book’s author or the film the entire question of “who is Keyser Soze?” is posited on.

Luckily, Bing still doesn’t know who Santa Claus is.

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