It’s no secret Bing lags behind Google when it comes to search market share. According to recent data, Bing accounts for only 4% of all worldwide searches and just 3% of mobile searches. That’s compared to 91% and 93% for Google. Last month, in their seemingly endless quest to pull users away from Google, Bing announced advanced search capabilities powered by their Microsoft Azure-N series machines running NVIDIA GPUs.
Enhanced Bing Search Features Announced March 2019
During the NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in March, Bing announced a series of search enhancements designed to support the mobile habits of today’s searching audience. According to the Bing blog post recapping the news, “Text-to-speech, speech-to-text, instant answers and visual search are all part of the next great search frontier, and we’re very excited to see what our partnership continues to enable in the future.”
Natural Sounding Text-To-Speech Capabilities
The enhanced processing power of NVIDIA GPUs now allows the Bing app to provide human-sounding spoken answers to search queries using their improved text-to-speech AI. According to Bing, these advancements are possible due to recent breakthroughs in deep neural networks that help the Bing AI create “human-like intonation and clear articulation of words.”
The Bing app also supports speech-to-text searches (voice queries) after users click the microphone button on the homepage.
Intelligent Answers To Complex Queries
Originally launched in 2017, Bing has been providing “comprehensive, summarized information aggregated across several sources” for simple queries. The deep learning models and extra processing power of the NVIDIA GPUs allow Bing to process online content faster and more efficiently. As a result of the enhanced GPU power, Bing is now also providing intelligent answers for more complex questions.
In their announcement, Bing provided examples of simple and complex queries, both of which can now be answered through Bing intelligent answers:
- Simple query: What is the capital of Bangladesh?
- Complex query: What are different types of lighting for a living room?
Simple queries can typically be answered with content from one site, while complex queries are likely to involve the aggregation of content from multiple sites.
Expanded Visual Search Capabilities
Visual search was also launched by Bing in 2017, but it is now more efficient and effective. Visual search allows users to perform search queries using images instead of text. The Bing search results show similar images and include purchase options, when applicable. Bing visual searches can also now detect objects within images that users are likely to want to search next. Clickable hotspots are placed over these images to let users easily continue their search journeys.
GPU vs. CPU
For readers wondering, a GPU is a graphics processing unit which typically works in conjunction with a CPU or central processing unit. According to a 2009 NVIDIA blog post, “Architecturally, the CPU is composed of just a few cores with lots of cache memory that can handle a few software threads at a time. In contrast, a GPU is composed of hundreds of cores that can handle thousands of threads simultaneously. The ability of a GPU with 100+ cores to process thousands of threads can accelerate some software by 100x over a CPU alone.”
GPUs were originally developed to support three-dimensional game rendering, but they have since been used more broadly. This March 2019 NVIDIA developer blog post explains recent GPU evolutions and the requirements behind Bing advancements.
Bing user satisfaction in 2018 was 73 out of 100 points on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) compared to 82 points for Google. Will search advancements, like advanced visual search, encourage Google users to give Bing a second glance? According to a recent Popular Science study of Google versus Bing, Bing wins on appearance but Google takes the lead in actual search capabilities. Based on this assessment, Bing’s recent announcements represent a step in the right direction.