July 18, 2014 | Paul Jahn
Written with Co-Poster Sarah B Danks.
Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land found some great information regarding Bing adding school rankings to search results. They’re included in the Bing Snapshot box you often see at the right of the main results. Visually, it’s placed very similarly to where Google has its knowledge graph.
The Bing search results for schools will show up to three different rankings: National, State or Regional, and STEM rank if it’s a high school. Upon performing some initial searches for higher education establishments, so far we see just one ranking and imagine it will expand and improve over time.
We looked at the results of a few of our alma maters. We saw ranking information for all of them (UMD, Minnesota State – Mankato, WSU, & CWU).
Two items that appear in these Bing results that don’t currently appear in Google for the same schools are, of course, the ranking, but also tuition rates. We’ll give Bing the edge over Google’s knowledge graph just for those two additional tidbits of information. One thing we would like to see in addition is the total number of schools within each ranking system.
And, now that Bing’s giving us a ranking number for a college, we’re wondering, “out of how many?” It’s great to see that UMD is ranked #42 regionally, but based on how many schools? Is it in the top 20%? 50%? We don’t know.
When we performed the same search for Harvard University, another snippet of data that Bing included in their Snapshot box which Google didn’t have was “popular online courses.”
The same information appeared when we looked up MIT. Maybe it’s just the “big-name” schools that have all the bells and whistles thus far…
We were also curious: what determines how much information is put into a Snapshot? For instance, as of this writing for-profit colleges didn’t have ranking information, and many didn’t show the acceptance rate. It would be nice to have the same criteria for all higher education schools.
Then we delved into some high school searches. It would seem Bing hasn’t rolled this feature out for all schools; or perhaps they’re still working on some quirks. We Binged Sarah’s high school and the result didn’t return any ranking information (or any other type, for that matter) at all:
It could be Bing is starting with all major (high) schools first, because when we looked at a prestigious high school, we found more information — although still nothing on ranking. Hmm. The picture of Josh Hartnett makes us forget why we cared about ranking in the first place:
Overall, Bing has made some impressive strides in trying to compete with Google. In fact, this fall Bing plans to improve academic searches even more by introducing Cortana. It’s said to be similar to Google’s Siri, but powered by Microsoft for Bing.
What’re you seeing in your searches? What information did Bing include when you searched for your school –college, high school…elementary school?