MS Uses Internet Community to Improve Bing Results

Dennis Faas's picture

In an effort to solve a number of early computational problems, Microsoft has now called upon the Internet community to help improve the accuracy of current and future Bing-generated search results.

Microsoft is set to release a new online game called Page Hunt that is designed to illicit user interaction and responses. The information extracted from this game will provide query alterations for use in search refinement and identify other vital issues. (Source:

Generate a Hit Word, Find the URL

The game seems quite fun. A player is shown a random web page with only the URL missing. Their task is to come up with one or more (called "hit words") that will allow the player to find the actual URL in a Bing search engine.

Page Hunt then lists the top search results, in order, to see if the player scored a match in the top five. If so, the player is awarded a fixed number of points (depending on the place of their match) with 300 points being given for the top score per search.

Page Hunt allows Microsoft to fine-tune their search algorithm in a forum that is reflective of an actual human search experience. Best of all, Microsoft users engage in a challenge that is as much fun as it is beneficial to the company.

Every Piece of Information Counts

Unbeknownst to the player, Page Hunt stores every piece of information involved with the gaming experience. This includes: player ID, web page URL, the actual search process, which results were considered a success, which results were considered a failure, what rank the player received against a backdrop of worldwide participants, etc.

The best part for Microsoft is, even if a player scores no points during the entire game, their contributions are still imperative to the thinking patterns of the average end user.

Page Hunt a Pilot Project

Page Hunt has already been tested on a number of Microsoft employees. The initial demonstrations showed that there is a direct relationship between the length of a URL and the ability of search engines to find its corresponding web page. (Source:

Microsoft also announced that a demo version of the game is now available online to non-Microsoft personnel.

Analysts are certain that Page Hunt will lead to the launch of other gaming efforts that use the public to help enhance the online search experience.

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