Bing Gets Personal with Its Search Results

Bing has officially joined Google in the personalized search game. As announced on its blog last week, Bing has tweaked its search to display more personal results based on location and past search history.

Until last Thursday, U.S. Bing users generally received the same results when conducting searches. Now, search results will depend on the user's location. For example, when searching in Bing for a museum in Phoenix, you receive results for Phoenix area museums with their locations marked in Bing Maps. When searching in Bing for a museum in Los Angeles, L.A. area museums come up.

Also, Bing is starting to factor in search history to determine the most relevant search results for each user. For instance, a search for “ACS” may pull up American Cancer Society or American Chemical Society depending on your search history. For searches that have been affected by search history, Bing displays a short message at the bottom of the first page of results to let you know that your search history has affected the ranking of search results. Users who don't want their search history to factor into their search results can clear and even turn off their search history. You can find out more about search history's role in Bing searches here.

Google has been personalizing search results in some way, shape or form since 2007. Starting in February 2007, anyone who signed up for a Google account automatically enabled their search history to help develop personalized homepages and search results. By 2009, Google users didn't even have to be signed into their Google accounts to view personalized results. Google also began displaying localized search results as determined by IP address location in 2009 and significantly ramped up the localization in 2010 with a major rehaul of its Google Places, its local search program.

Bing's entrance into search result personalization marks a significant milestone in the decline of “normal,” meaning non-personalized, search results, as about 90 percent of the world's Internet searches are powered by Google or Bing.

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