Some search engine wars are being fought in classrooms. If there’s Google for Education, there’s also Bing in the Classroom. It’s less of a sibling rivalry and more of a backyard brawl as the two search giants rapidly make changes to the way learners search for information.
In the latest volley, Bing brings in two nice touches for students who look to the Web for learning.
- Search for free online courses by the Khan Academy.
- Search for a book title available at a library, for free download, or for viewing online.
Both the new search features are U.S. only for now, but you can use them by going into the Bing settings and changing your location.
Search For Learning Topics On Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a free (non-profit) educational site for learning videos on math, biology, chemistry, physics, and also subjects like finance and history. Bing has indexed these courses via its Knowledge Repository. Searching for a specific subject returns a list of popular online courses available on Khan Academy. Jump to the Khan Academy site and start learning. Do note that the list of video lectures will only show up if the subject is available on Khan Academy.
For now, it is a bit limited because you can only search by subject and not by topic. For instance, you can search with “Chemistry” and not with something like “Periodic Table”. But having one of the best educational sites a click away is definitely helpful for students.
Search for Books
Come prep time and students run helter-skelter for books recommended in the curriculum. Bing makes searching for books a little easier by giving a snapshot of its availability. The snapshot on the right tells you if the book is available at a library near you, available for free download, or tells you if you can read a version online. It will also direct you to an excerpt from the book on OverDrive. For some books, you can also use OverDrive to find the nearest library to borrow the book from.
A book search with localized information on its availability still isn’t available on Google Search. You have to dive into Google Books to read excerpts or to find some more information on a book.
More Ways To Extend Your Education On Bing
Bing offers more to students. Here are 5 key features of note…
Free Online Courses By Top Universities
Just like the latest snapshot from Khan Academy, Bing also displays results on free courses available from Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and other universities who offer free MOOC courses. You can also check out the latest university rankings in the U.S. from the snapshots.
Search For TED Talks
This is a feature you can use quickly to check if a personality has given any TED Talk. Type in their names and look at the snapshot on the right. Try it out with Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Dan Gilbert as Bing suggests.
Listen to Famous Speeches and National Anthems
Get some perspective on history by listening to famous speeches – for instance: John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King – and understand how they inspired generations with the spoken word. You can also listen to national anthems from countries such as United States, United Kingdom, and France.
Understand The Animal World
Google doesn’t do this that well. Type in the name of an animal and you can learn all about it, including all the vital stats and its many sub-species.
Ad-Free Search For K-12 Schools In The U.S.
Bing for Schools offers K–12 public and private schools in the U.S. an ad-free non-commercial variant of their search engine. It removes all advertisements from search results. Bing announced that it is the first and only major search engine to give schools this feature. Bing for Schools also added enhanced privacy protection and web filtration features for students.
Bing’s Knowledge Repository Is Improving
To the average user, Bing’s under-the-hood algorithms won’t be of much interest. But it’s also important to understand the developments Bing is making to its Knowledge Repository – also known as Satori. When it was first introduced last year, Microsoft had said –
Over time, Satori will continue growing to encompass billions of entities and relationships, providing searchers with a more useful model of the digital and physical world.
Just like Google’s own Knowledge Graph, Bing continues to add more “search entities” to give users richer and more interactive search results. Adding these tools not only gives you more options, but makes for a fun search experience as you explore interrelationships between the things you are searching for.
Both are striving to “understand” the Web. For learners, it is important to understand the little differences between their educational uses and then exploit them to the best of their unique abilities. After all, it just takes another tab to load an alternative search engine. Try the best bits of Bing.
Do you use Bing as much as you would like to? Which type of search does it do better than Google?