Bing Launches Action Buttons in Search Results


Bing announced the release of “Action Buttons” in search results today. These are buttons on certain types of search results (including travel-related) that allow you to engage in specific actions related to that result.

Think about things like checking into a hotel or a flight, checking on a flight status, booking a flight, renting a car, etc.

“Now when you search across 7 popular categories – including airlines, couriers (e.g. FedEx), restaurants, banks, rental cars, software downloads and hotels – you will be presented with buttons for top actions on the site, that directly take you to the page where you can complete your task,” explains Bing Program Manager Deepak Vijaywargi.

“Based on how people search, our algorithms now determine top actions and corresponding links in the site for a given category with high precision,” says Vijaywargi. ”For instance, with airlines the top 3 tasks are: check-in to a flight, check the status of a flight or book a flight. For software sites, if you are searching for a specific product you likely want to download it. For car rental agencies, you’d like to rent a car, find out locations or contact them.”

Bing pitches the feature as an extension of its deep link inclusion on search results, but I’d say this is probably one of the most interesting things Bing has done with its results in a while. Bing has always positioned itself as wanting to get you the answers and get things done as quickly as possible, and this should, in theory at least, help with that.

It will be interesting to see if Google borrow’s the idea.

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Sitelinks in Google Search Results Get Some Updates


Google announced today that it is launching an update to its sitelinks feature in search results. These are the links that appear under some search results that point users to different parts of that that site.

Now, sitelinks are full-sized blue text links with a URL and a single line of text underneath. There are also more of them. The old maximum number was 8. Now it’s 12.

But that’s not all. How Google actually determines which links to show has also changed.

“In addition, we’re making a significant improvement to our algorithms by combining sitelink ranking with regular result ranking to yield a higher-quality list of links,” explains Daniel Rocha, a software engineer on Google’s sitelinks team. “This reduces link duplication and creates a better organized search results page.”

“Now, all results from the top-ranked site will be nested within the first result as sitelinks, and all results from other sites will appear below them,” he adds. “The number of sitelinks will also vary based on your query.”

While some users may have seen this feature in tests prior to this point, Google says it is rolling out the updates over the next few days around the globe in all supported languages to modern browser users (Chrome, Firefox, IE7 and above, etc.).

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