Microsoft has announced a suite of new features for Bing to make it easier for users to stay current with information related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. All the new features focus on schema markups and join other Bing tools focused on the viral outbreak, such as special COVID-19 real-time Bing Maps to chart cases.
Looking at the new features, Microsoft has debuted a SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for government health agencies. According to the company, Bing will access data from countries, states, provinces and other administrative areas if they use the schema.org markup for diseaseSpreadStatistics associated with a SpecialAnnouncement.
Statistics will be used on bing.com/covid and related searches. However, if an agency wants to use the tag, they must follow these criteria:
- “Your site must be the official government site reporting case statistics for your region.
- Information in the markup must be up-to-date and consistent with statistics displayed to the general public from your site.
- Your special announcement must include the date it was posted, indicating the time at which the statistics were first reported.”
Similarly, Microsoft has also announced the SpecialAnnouncements schema markup for business updates. Organizations can use the tag to create a label showing special announcements regarding coronavirus. Links to the parent website can be included to show more details. Microsoft says the idea is to create a link between customers and company's actions during the pandemic.
There are several requirements to use the tag:
- “The special announcements must be posted on your official website. And refer only to changes related to COVID-19 for your own business, hospital, school, or government office.
- The name of the special announcement must be easily identified within the body of the special announcement page on your site.
- Your special announcement must include the date it was posted and should also include the time the announcement expires, if appropriate.”
SpecialAnnoucement schema markup for risk assessment and testing centers
Finally, Microsoft Bing has made the same move for risk assessment and testing centers. These facilities can include searches with testing information or how to get assessed. Below are the criteria:
- “Your site must be an official site for a well-known healthcare facility or government health agency.
- gettingTestedInfo must refer to a webpage that specifies what assessment is required prior to being tested at the given testing location.
The testing facility information must refer to URLs and facility locations already associated with your provider or agency. Listing other providers' facilities is not supported at this time.”