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When Microsoft first introduced Bing as their new search engine, they had said that Bing was more than just a search engine. According to them it was a “decision engine”. They have now gone a step further to make this statement a reality by introducing ‘Action Buttons’.

Action buttons will allow people to complete a task related to a search query. The Bing algorithm will help the search engine to predict the possible tasks that the user could be undertaking and then the action buttons will simplify the process.

Action buttons for Hertz car rental on Bing

Bing director Stefan Weitz says that Bing will try to provide more than just simple blue links in their search results.

To start with, these action buttons will be available only on seven major search categories of popular search sites. These categories are airlines, couriers, restaurants, banks, rental cars, software downloads and hotels.

Based on the internal data of searches collected by them, Bing will then decide which are the most popular actions conducted by users on those sites. Those action buttons will then show up in the SERP.

Action buttons for Delta Airlines on Bing

Bing hopes to be able to provide more than just links to other pages, through these action buttons. The action buttons will aim to take the user deeper into the content. In some cases, the action buttons will be the same as the site links, while in other cases they will connect to a new page on the site. For example, booking a flight and viewing the status of a flight are both site links and action buttons in the screenshot above, whereas ‘Check In’ is an action button that does not exist in the extended site links for Delta Airlines.

The overlap between site links and action buttons may seem confusing and might make users wonder why Bing bothered with the buttons when the links were already there. Could it possibly be that Bing has run out of ideas and is now resorting to trivial changes in search results just to be able to make headlines?