What you need to know

  • Bing gains new travel features thanks to insight from Outings app.
  • Outings is an app made from the Microsoft Garage to curate travel data.
  • Bing will now have improved search results for attractions and travel destinations.

Eighteen months after its initial release, the Outings app is graduating from the Microsoft Garage. Many of its core features will be integrated into Bing to improve search results for attractions and travel destinations.

Outings was released in December 2017. Its aim was to curate content from around the web to help people enjoy their travels. It helps users find images of destinations, places to explore, and suggests places in the United States and Canada that people might enjoy visiting.

The Microsoft blog post announcing the app's graduation breaks down how it gets search results. It works by identifying content from travel blogs and curating them into "bite-sized attractions, or outings that users can browse through."

Outings is being retired as an app, but many of its features will live on through Bing. The technology from Outings will be integrated into Bing in three ways outlined by Microsoft:

  • Enhanced Search Result UX Now users will see attractions arranged in a carousel with better images, brief descriptions, and different topics synthesizing what the attractions are popular for.
  • Relevance The data pipeline fine-tuned in Outings powers more relevant search for destinations and attractions. Since the pipeline gathers meta-data from millions of travel blogs, the experience can surface the most popular attractions in particular areas
  • Improved Query Triggering Additional key terms in the search query that will cue these search result experiences. For example, you don't just have to search the Space Needle; you can search things to do in Seattle or things to do near me"

The Outings app is being retired on July 31, 2019. The enhanced search results will be available through Bing for English users in the United States. Microsoft is looking to gather content from France, Spain, and more countries in the future.

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