Look, itâs completely understandable that you might feel like skipping a story about Bing, the Microsoft-owned search engine thatÂ has a market share of just around 7 percent in the U.S.Â (thoughÂ Bing says itâs higher), but this is actually kind of interesting: Bing this weekÂ launchedÂ an AI-driven news feature, âSpotlight,â that âprovides overviews of news topics that you can see right in the Bing search results when you search for major developing news stories.â
We look at various user signals such as queries and browser logs, and document signals from publishers such as how many publishers cover a story, their angles, and how prominently they feature the story on their site. For controversial topics, in the Perspectives module, we show different viewpoints from high-quality sources. For a source to be considered high quality, it must meet theÂ Bing News PubHub Guidelines, which is a set of criteria that favors originality, readability, newsworthiness, and transparency. Top caliber news providers identify sources and authors, give attribution and demonstrate sound journalistic practices such as accurate labeling of opinion and commentary.
Bing doesnât make its list of âhigh-qualityâ sources public. On Wednesday morning, I found two available âSpotlightsâ in Bingâs homepage carousel: âSecurity Clearance,â âMoney for Teachers Guns.â Most of the feature stories in a âRundownâ column came from large national publishers â The Guardian, Fox News (also aÂ âgreenâ/trusted sourceÂ for the recently launched NewsGuard), USA Today, Reuters, USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, ABC News, and The Chicago Tribune â and the only story I saw from a digital-only outlet was from Vox.
Bing says its mission is to help people âlearn more about the news in less time,â and considering the small number of people who use Bing and the even smaller number who will click through to find Spotlights, itâs questionable that this feature will accomplish that. But it is an interesting example of how a search engine is trying to tackle news aggregation in an explicitly responsible way.