Bing may shape search results based on 'plans' and 'aspirations'

Bing to deduce personality to tailor search results

Updated:
Since June 2010, Bing has highlighted results that Facebook friends "liked." (Source: Microsoft Corporation) Since June 2010, Bing has highlighted results that Facebook friends "liked." (Source: Microsoft Corporation)

(RNN) - In line with its efforts to make Bing more competitive with the almighty Google, Microsoft applied for a patent which could make the tech giant the only one to tailor search engine results by guessing a person's personality traits.

The patent was filed in October 2010, when the search engine was ranked third by comScore with 11.5 percent of the search engine market share, compared to Google's impressive 66.3 percent of the market. It was released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office April 19.

With permission from Bing users, Microsoft would get access to social media profiles and sites like TMZ and Gawker, where users are encouraged to comment on stories.

But what information would Microsoft use to customize results?

The patent says a bot would scan for keywords and emoticons, which would be used to guess a person's "current trending interests, future plans, likes/dislikes and aspirations."

If the bot finds out you're planning a trip and you're excited about it, the patent says the search engine's background art could change to reflect your destination.

Bing's search results also would take into account a person's reading comprehension level based on his or her posts and profiles.

The company has been struggling to gain a foothold in the search engine market since it was launched in 2009. Although Microsoft announced April 18 that it had made $17.41 billion in quarterly revenue, it also reported a $479 million loss in their online services division, which includes Bing.

In September 2011, Microsoft's president of Online Services, Qi Lu, told CNN Money that the key to making Bing more profitable is to expand the way search engines are used. The patent would appear to fit Bing's goal by making search results more intuitive - and personalized.

But a report released in March from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates the move may not be what consumers are looking for.

The report found 68 percent of those surveyed didn't like the idea of targeted advertising because they were uncomfortable with being tracked online.

Privacy also was a concern among 73 percent of respondents, who said they would not be OK with a search engine keeping track of their past searches.

Bing already launched Bing Social to give Facebook users more customized search results. The partnership lets Bing share what search results Facebook friends like, and makes it easier for users to "like" things on the social media site.

Like most sites partnered with Facebook, users have the ability to turn off sharing in their privacy settings.

Although Bing has managed to grab more internet users and their searches - 15.3 percent as of March - the company seems to have grabbed most of its users from Yahoo, Ask and AOL.

In March, Google held 66.4 percent of the search market.

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