7 years ago

Bing adds natural language flight search while Google bombs

Score a small victory for Bing as it added natural language search for flights.

For example, without inputting airport codes, dates and other particulars into the Bing search box, you can simply type, “Delta flights to New York for Christmas,” and retrieve a flight search widget and Top Deals from Bing Travel. The organic search results look like this:


The process is far from seamless — the traveler still has to insert the origin airport and take another step to launch the flight search widget and the Top Deals aren’t geared necessarily toward the consumer’s home airport — but it is better than doing a natural language flight search on Google.

[Correction: Bing’s Instant Answer indeed populates origin airports based on Reverse IP technology, but didn’t in the above example because the search was conducted from New Jersey — too close to destination airports in New York.]

A Google search this morning for “Delta flights to New York for Christmas” didn’t retrieve any search engines from Google’s online travel agency partners and, in fact, the top organic result was for a Wikipedia entry about last year’s Christmas bombing attempt on board Northwest flight 253. Here’s what the organic search results looked like on Google:


About the natural language search for flights on Bing — it has potential, if developed, to ease the search experience.

Call it one small step for man, but so far hardly a giant leap for mankind.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  1. Tal Weiss

    Evature (www.evature.com) is much more powerful. EVA is powering sites like these: http://www.flightandhotel.co.u…/
    Try the tech demo at http://evature.com/demo
    Things to compare:
    “From israel to rome on the 2nd week of august, veggie food and an isle seat”.
    “3-4 stars, pet-friendly hotel in an island location with free internet and cable tv in the room. 2 adults and 4 kids”.
    “disneyworld in the summer with my wife”
    Also, handling of spelling mistakes, faulty grammar, complex sentences…
    Disclosure: I am the founder.

  2. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    David: Duh….thanks for the clarification on origin airports. My bad.

  3. David Lindheimer

    Dennis – thanks for the great post. The origin airport is automatically populated for the user based on their current location. However, Bing figured out you can’t really fly from your home in NJ to New York so it left it blank 🙂 For example, try “delta flights to Los Angeles for christmas”.

    Wherever you’re heading, have a great holiday!

    David Lindheimer
    Bing Travel

  4. Jonathan Alford

    Dennis it will be interesting to see how Google and Bing both move forward here, and I think this is a key area where Google will be able to overtake MSFT if the ITA deal goes through.

    If you’re interested, I posted tests I did on natural language voice search on Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms, and the winner there so far is Android.


    Voice search will be just one segment of search, but the natural language typed search and voice search will be really interesting opportunities for both Google and MSFT to take users directly to suppliers (or other advertisers with fares, I suppose). A work in progress in both cases, but will continue to improve.

  5. Tweets that mention Bing adds natural language flight search while Google bombs | Tnooz -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dennis Schaal, rf4travel, Kevin May, Travel Hotline, Tnooz and others. Tnooz said: LATEST: Bing adds natural language flight search while Google bombs http://bit.ly/ihrw31 […]


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