The holiday season can be stressful enough as it is, without having to worry if your local supermarket will be open. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, many businesses cut their operating hours and keeping up with all the changes can be a nightmare.
As a result, Microsoft is introducing a new feature to Bing search. Though a liaison with businesses, the search engine will display holiday hours. These will update in real-time, so changes will always be up to date.
In most cases, holiday information will be up a week before the date, meaning that you can plan any changes in advance. This will apply not just to thanksgiving, but to every single holiday going forward.
It’s clear where Microsoft inspiration comes from – their biggest competitor, Google. The feature came to the search giant last year, and Bing was left without a similar component. A year later, Microsoft has decided to bridge that gap, and it’s done a pretty good job of it.
Microsoft’s information isn’t quite as in your face as Google’s, but it still saves a lot of scrolling through websites to find information. The real test will be the number of businesses the feature supports, but that will only become clear over time.
If Bing doesn’t have information for the business, Microsoft at least has a failsafe in place. It will note that a holiday is coming up soon and you should check for hours. I noticed this a lot looking at banks and smaller restaurant chains.
Despite this, it’s hard to complain. The feature is a definite step forward, and will only get better with time. This will be even better with Cortana integration, which will likely come soon if its not there already.
You can find more information about the changes on the Bing blog.