Bing’s ‘On this day’ feature delivers a daily dose of ‘serendipitous delight’

If you’ve ever wondered what happened on a particular day, Bing has a feature that can help you find out. Search “on this day” or “on this day in history” or even a specific date, like “April 15 in history,” and a box will pop up at the top of the results that gives you four big events in history that happened on that day.

The feature is also usually found in the main carousel of items at the bottom of the Bing home page and there’s a calendar icon so you can check out what happened on other days, too.

“We really wanted to introduce a different way of engaging with search,” says David Edwards, an editor on the Bing home page and editorial lead for Bing in the Classroom and special features. “This showcases significant historical or extraordinary events that are also interesting, quirky and part of pop culture. We hope to satisfy users’ interests in exploring and discovering a wide range of facts, not just what they searched for initially. It’s a daily opportunity for serendipitous delight.”

Bing on this day carousel

For instance, while some may associate April 15 with tax day, it’s actually a big day in sports history:

“On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson integrates baseball. More than 26,000 spectators, at least 14,000 of them African Americans, crowd into New York’s Ebbet Field as Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the first African American to play baseball for a Major League team, starts as the Brooklyn Dodgers’ first baseman against the Boston Braves. Robinson will endure racist resistance throughout his first season in the majors, but the national pastime’s color barrier will be forever broken.”

You’d also find out about the definitive English dictionary of almost two centuries, 1927 Mississippi River floods and a medal of heroism given to an entire island nation.

Search tends to be linear, Edwards says, so as an editorial team, Bing is trying to introduce more human elements like this to the experience. They worked with writers to research nearly 1,500 events using a variety of sources, including Wikipedia, History.com, the New York Times and CBC archives.

They’ve identified events for every day of the year, so they’ll be able to switch out some entries.

“It’s interesting when you stumble upon an event you haven’t given any thought to, like the invention of the Frisbee,” Edwards says. “Our feature tells you how this guy sells the disc to Wham-O and how it became a marketing sensation. There’s a small space to explain each event, and then people can find links to fall down rabbit holes if they choose to.”

If you enjoy those kinds of rabbit holes, try “On this day” out through a Bing search or click on it through Bing.com’s carousel.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff