Bing reveals efforts to help with human search errors

We have all done it. We have all made mistakes when it comes to searching for websites and phrases in search engines. Sometimes those mistakes can take us to URLs where we will see some kind of site set up by domain squatters who just want to sell us some kind of drug or, even worse, set us up for a malware attack.

In a new post on the official Bing blog, Microsoft has announced that it has made changes to Bing that will help to eliminate issues when people type in the wrong URL on the Bing.com.  One method is to simply look at all of the different spellings people type into the Bing.com search box. Microsoft states, "By recognizing patterns in billions of logs, we are able to fix common spelling errors in URLs."

Microsoft also looks for patterns in terms of the specific URLs that are typed in by Bing users. For example, people who type in "swair.com" are most likely looking for the official Southwest Airlines website, which is southwest.com. Bing can now recognize when a person types in "swair.com" and redirect them to the correct URL.

In terms of search results that are not related to URLs, Microsoft says it has made other improvements to Bing in those areas. For example, sometimes when a person types in a search string, Bing might put in some suggestions in case the search engine believes that person has misspelled a search request. Microsoft calls these results "Recourse Links".

The blog post states:

In the past we used to show synonyms as part of our recourse links and this would open up some surface area for showing embarrassing alterations that either were off-topic or were superfluous. The query “define interesting” highlights an example where the recourse link was unnecessary. Even though expanding “define” to “definition” helped the ranker surface a better match it didn’t lead to a better user experience. In this case, showing the Recourse Link didn’t enhance the experience. While we’ve removed the Recourse Links in cases where we are very confident that they add little value or distract users, we will continue to show them when there’s a chance our query modifications are not what the user actually wanted.

Microsoft has also made improvements to Bing's related searches feature (the results that are seen on the right of the Bing.com page) that offer up more relavent links to users than in the past.

Source: Bing.com blog

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7 Comments

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Memnochxx said,
Why are people entering URLs into bing?

I see it all the time, "facebook com" into bing or google etc but I assume they mean the IE passthrough on the URL box. You can prefix search keywords with ? and it'll take you directly to bing (or what ever search engine you have set by default). If you type a url in and it doesn't resolve, its takes it to bing. I assume it's where they redirect you to the correct site instead now.

Personally, I'm starting to get annoyed at all the 'help' I have to jump through to get to the results I've actuall searched for.

about year ago when searching for abit about TLER support in consumer harddisks for their RAID ability. Google insisted that it wanted to help me out and kept trying to refine my search because I had spelt TLER wrong. I ended up using google.com/linux/ to by pass the stupid crap.

They seem to at least give you an option with the "Did you mean?" link now, but it doesn't stop them from adding additional keywords into search results that they think you might want to search for.

Memnochxx said,
Why are people entering URLs into bing?

My parents do that, go to address bar, type in hotmail and press enter, no .com or anything, try to teach them and they ignore, idiots.