In a move which looks to be a direct response to Google’s ‘knowledge graph’, Bing search results are to start including short and topical references from the Britannica Encyclopaedia.
The deal will see summary points from the encyclopaedia included in only some searches though.
Announcing the news in a blog post, Microsoft says that information will only be displayed when relevant to the search terms. When deemed appropriate, “salient facts” will be presented in a small box.
This box will be clearly separated from the organic results and, to ensure there is fairness to other providers of factual information, Bing will also present links to other sources.
Popular online reference sites such as Freebase, Qwiki and Wikipedia and will likely be covered here.
How the relevancy of a search term will be determined in order to see a presentation of the information has not been announced.
In early tests of the tool, many SEO commentators have suggested the box only appears for queries where Britannica links would otherwise be appearing in any case.
Conversely, the appearance of Google’s knowledge graph is appearing on more and more SERPs. It is also interrogating more and more resources, a move likely to appeal to those working hard to factualise their search engine optimisation content.
It is likely the Bing / Britannica tie up will develop too, as it finds its footing.
It is the first major digital move by Britannica, since the early spring announcement that print copies of the Encyclopaedia are to stop.