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Microsoft Bing adds new Deep Search generative AI feature

Microsoft today announced Deep Search – a new, optional generative AI feature meant to help searchers with complex questions that don’t have simple answers.

How it works. Deep Search is built on top of Bing’s web index and ranking system. It then uses GPT-4 to discern all the possible intents and variations behind the query and compute descriptions for each of them to create an “ideal set of results.”

After using a combination of querying techniques, Deep Search will surface results that typically wouldn’t appear in Search results.

In an example query Microsoft shared, it showed a user searching for [how do points systems work in japan], Deep Search might identify these other relevant search terms:

  • loyalty card programs Japan
  • best loyalty cards for travelers in Japan
  • comparison of loyalty programs by category Japan
  • redeeming loyalty cards in Japan
  • managing loyalty points with phone apps
  • “By doing this, Deep Search can find results that cover different aspects of my query, even if they don’t explicitly include the original keywords. Regular searches on Bing already consider millions of web pages for each search and Deep Search does ten times that to find results that are more informative and specific than the ones that rank higher in normal search,” MIcrosoft said.

What Deep Search looks like. Here’s a GIF Microsoft shared to illustrate how Deep Search works on Bing:

Deep Search results ranking. The biggest factor is how well a page matches Bing’s expanded description. A few other relevance and quality factors mentioned were:

  • How well the topic matches.
  • Whether it has an “appropriate level of detail.”
  • Whether the source is credible and trustworthy.
  • Freshness.
  • How popular the page is.

Wait times. Deep Search won’t load as quickly as regular search results. It may take Deep Search up to 30 seconds to complete, Microsoft said. This makes the feature sound dead on arrival – as most searchers likely won’t have that much patience.

Limited availability right now. Only “randomly selected small groups” of Bing’s global users will see Deep Search while it’s in testing, Microsoft said in a blog post.

Why we care. This is another AI-driven SERP feature that will compete and could steal clicks from organic listings. That said, it’s hard to tell exactly how it works without testing it out, which we haven’t been able to do yet. But any clicks it steals could help users complete their tasks more quickly, as user intent can be ambiguous for many queries.

What Microsoft is saying. Microsoft said it created Deep Search to provide “more relevant and comprehensive answers to the most complex search queries”:

  • “Deep Search is not meant for every query or every user. … Deep Search is not a replacement for Bing’s existing web search, but an enhancement that offers the option for a deeper and richer exploration of the web.”

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