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Search Engines

Bing boosts Satori on eightfold path to search enlightenment

It's not yet 2014, but Microsoft is already making a resolution for the new year: make Bing's Satori knowledge repository equal to Google's Knowledge Graph.

Microsoft recently announced improvements to Satori (a Zen Buddhist term for enlightenment) that will bring more data front-and-center for searches of historical people and events, countries, and scientific data.

The improvements center around Bing's snapshot pane on the right-hand side of the search results page that shows a basic summary of information related to your search. Google offers a similar pane as part of its Knowledge Graph.

Bing will include links to previous TED talks in the snapshots of famous people who have given them. For historically significant people who weren't around for TED but walked the earth after the advent of recorded audio, their snapshot panes now include snippets of famous speeches.

Searching for Winston Churchill includes his vow during World War II that Britain would never surrender. President John F. Kennedy's snapshot pane offers his iconic challenge at his inauguration to "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

For historical moments such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iranian Revolution, or Canada's October Crisis, Bing offers a quick summary of the events pulled from Wikipedia. Bing's snapshot pane will also preview a country's national anthem when searching for a nation state.

Searching for American universities and colleges will bring up any popular online courses the institution may provide. These snapshots also include each institution's national ranking--presumably pulled from U.S. News & World Report.

Finally, if you search for an animal such as the pangolin or scientific concepts such as Einstein's theory of general relativity, you'll get a summary description in the snapshot pane--again pulled from Wikipedia.

Bing's Satori boost provides a nice set of additions for users of Microsoft's search engine and helps bring Bing's results closer to what you'd expect on Google. However, there are a few features the new Bing data offers that Google doesn't such as links to TED talks, famous speech snippets, and summaries of historical events.

With steady improvements to the snapshot pane, the recent visual overhaul to music video searches, and the modern makeover announced in September, Bing is starting to look like a fairly good choice for anyone tired of relying on Google all the time.

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