Microsoft on Thursday announced significant improvements when searching with Bing News: trending topics and related individuals. The company also revealed it has expanded its articles index size from weeks to years.

The first feature lets you explore people, places, and things “in a visual and easy-to-use carousel format,” according to Microsoft. Starting today, when you search for a notable person in current events, you’ll not only see news results from across the Web, but also a visual carousel which shows you important and timely topics related to the person you’re searching for.

Here it is in action (as a sidenote, Microsoft’s Bing team has had a Taylor Swift obsession for years):

clip image004 7BCCB486 Microsofts Bing News adds trending topics and related individuals, expands articles index from weeks to years

Microsoft says that building this browse-able news experience requires “a deep understanding of current events, the people that matter and how relationships between these two play out in public life.” Since it has already done the work, the company also now displays related individuals on the right-hand side:

clip image006 1AA32865 Microsofts Bing News adds trending topics and related individuals, expands articles index from weeks to years

More broadly, Microsoft has significantly expanded its news articles index. Previously, it contained about two weeks of news. The company wouldn’t say how much bigger exactly the index is now, but it did say the data now spans “several years.”

This means when Bing News can’t find anything regarding your query in recent articles, it can look through its index and bring you older, but still relevant articles. While most news searches are undoubtedly in regards to recent events, past stories can be informative even if they’re not current.

While we doubt many will now start using Bing News over Google News, it’s starting to become a valid alternative. Microsoft may have arguably managed to get Bing to match Google in certain types of searches like images, but the news section never really competed at all. We’ll soon see if these improvements will be enough to change that.

See also – Microsoft’s Bing adds Facebook commenting and Like actions to its social sidebar and Microsoft kills Bing Deals and launches Bing Offers in the US, aims to aggregate more local deals on one site

Top Image Credit: Griszka Niewiadomski