Digital Innovation Digital Publishing
3 mins read

Bing is growing, and shining a ‘spotlight’ on news searches

Although a distant second to Google in terms of market share, Microsoft’s Bing is showing signs of a growth spurt, and the search platform grew 17% YoY.

Bing has been introducing significant innovations, like enriching basic search, rolling out a search entity API—which produces richer contextual search results, developing a more robust knowledge graph, and embracing a more visually appealing search aesthetic.

Bing also recently announced the launch of visual search, which lets people use images to easily navigate the search engine and find content.

The underdog search engine’s latest salvo is the Bing Spotlight, an artificially intelligent news aggregator that provides an overview of developing stories in the search results.

Spotlight provides overviews of news topics that users can see right in the search results when they search for major developing news stories, and helps users learn more about the news in less time.

With this new feature, Bing is taking a fresh approach to news curation. According to Microsoft, “we want to empower users to get an overview of the news in less time. That’s why we built the Bing spotlight that provides overviews of news topics that you can see right in the Bing search results when you search for major developing news stories.”

Spotlight, a post on the Bing blog explains, shows users the latest headlines, a rundown of how the story has developed over time, and relevant social media posts from people around the web.

Spotlight also shows diverse perspectives on a given topic so users can quickly get a well-rounded view on the topic before deciding what they want to go deeper on and read by clicking on any of the articles.

To provide a well-rounded view of news from diverse, quality sources, Bing Spotlight spots trending topics with the help of deep learning algorithms that ingest millions of search queries and news articles every day.

It looks 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, Bing features different viewpoints from high-quality sources.

For a source to be considered high quality, Bing says, it must meet the News PubHub Guidelines, which is a set of criteria that favours originality, readability, newsworthiness, and transparency.

Behind the scenes, we leverage our deep learning algorithms and web graphs of hundreds of millions of web sites in the Bing index to identify top sources for national news, per category, query, or article. Our goal is to provide broader context for impactful stories, from politics to business to major disasters, and much more.

A spokesperson clarified that Bing Spotlight is an “evolving feature,” and that the team will evaluate options based on feedback.

“We’re working hard to expand the range of topics covered by this approach, including expanding the numbers of topics spotlight covers, to help you become more informed in less time and effort,” the Bing team said.

To try the new experience, users can search for major news topics like self-driving cars on, or find the latest spotlights on the homepage carousel.

Spotlight is currently available on Bing desktop and mobile web in the US.