Bing gets personal ahead of Cortana launch
In a bid to make Bing more personal, Microsoft has rolled out Google Now-like personalized information cards on the Bing homepage. Microsoft first announced the new feature earlier in April, but it only started rolling out to Bing users on Wednesday.
Bing's personalization displays a series of thumbnails tailored to your interests across the bottom of Bing's landing page. Each personalized thumbnail appears with a star in front of it.
Both Cortana and the new Bing cards are part of the same effort to surface information that matters to you. Bing personalized data can appear on Bing.com, Cortana (for Windows Phone 8.1 users), as well as Bing-powered apps on mobile devices and Windows 8.
Bing's current roster of personalized items are fairly basic, including news headlines, weather, upcoming flight times and statuses, and stocks.
By default, Bing's news headlines offer you a set of generic topics such as top stories, sports, science and technology, and so on. But you can make these offerings more personal by setting your own topics, such as your favorite sports teams and news about specific people or companies.
At first glance, it's not clear if Bing's personalization will go as deep as Google Now's. Bing requires you to set-up your own interests first before it will do anything, whereas Google Now just starts working once you authorize it. Google Now does let you tailor your interests for some topics such as sports teams and stocks, but a lot of its information comes from your search history and other Google products such as Gmail.
Microsoft does appear to be using some search personalization. Search Engine Land reports that you can add certain topics to your Bing interests right from Bing's search results page. In my brief tests, however, I have yet to see that option.
If you'd like to get started with Bing.com's new feature, login with your Microsoft account. Then under Settings, you should see a new option called Interests where you can get personal with Bing.