Bing, Microsoft's search engine, has announced a new partnership with the Encyclopaedia Britannia, to improve information returned with its results.
The move follows hot on the heels of the new Knowledge Graph introduced by Google, which pulls out relevant stats, facts, stories and information about various search terms (for instance, searching a popular actor's name would bring up details from their Wikipedia and IMDB entries).
Encyclopaedia Britannica announced in March that it had pulped plans for any future printed editions - instead choosing to embrace technology and only produce digital versions in future.
Bing has leapt to bring Britannica on board to boost its own search results - in the face of ongoing improvements over in Google's camp.
For the Internet marketing industry, the recent changes to bring up pertinent facts and info related to search queries could provide a boost: by providing factual content and informative advice related to search areas, marketers could see a 'double hit' on the search results pages - their own organic site listings, and details pulled into the new info boxes on both Bing and Google.
Early tests found that although Bing had announced the changes were now live, some searches weren't revealing extra information from the Encyclopaedia just yet.
In contrast, Google's Knowledge Graph, which launched earlier, is now bringing up salient information boxes for a huge range of searches.
Bing expects to add Britannica results to more search returns in future. It said it would also pull in information from sites such as Wikipedia, Qwiki and Freebase.
Both Bing and Google seem to be matching each others' search engine updates in recent weeks.
When Google Search Plus Your World aimed to take search social, Bing introduced changes to display Twitter and Facebook results alongside search returns. Google's Knowledge Graph is now being matched by the Britannica partnership at Bing.
The battle between the two search engine giants is escalating - how the two factions continue to push improvements through competition remains to be seen. But there could be huge ramifications for search engine optimisation, and pay per click services, if the top page of organic search results slowly changes to only display facts and stats from one or two trusted, encyclopaedic sources.
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