Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Microsoft today announced a new experiment called Bing Boards, a “way for passionate people to create highly specialized content” specifically for search. The company describes these “boards” as visual collections of images, videos, and links that tell a story from a unique point of view.
Just like any company with a massive Web property, Microsoft runs tests that tweak minor details of its service as well as larger ones to determine which new features are worth pursuing. Bing Boards is part of a new social search series that is not opt-in: experiments will appear randomly to a limited number of people “over the next few months.”
You can get a better idea of how Bing Boards look like by searching for “photo booth backdrop.” As you can see above, you’ll get back a board created by Chelsea Costa from Lovely Indeed.
Bing Boards show Microsoft is looking to complement its search algorithms with a human touch. The company wants the Boards to be created by people (it specifically emphasizes “not companies or algorithms”) who are passionate about the topics they blog, write, or talk about.
Here’s the company’s reasoning:
Most people spend at least some time every day on sites dedicated to a particular area in which they have a special interest. It could be a hobby, a political or social issue, an area of pop culture: the topics are as varied as the people who are interested in them.
Currently, Microsoft is working with a small group of food and lifestyle bloggers, experts, and social influencers. They aren’t just curating search results: they are helping the company “iterate and evolve the experience.”
It’s not currently clear if Bing Boards will become a part of Bing, but they’re certainly an interesting proposition. Yet we’ll reserve further judgment until we see the other tests; this is, after all, the first of “several upcoming social and community experiments,” only some (or none) of which will leave the experiment stage, and find incorporation as an official part of Bing.
Top Image Credit: Leszek Nowak
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