Microsoft is rolling out a new feature to its Bing search engine today: conversations. It’s not quite the Cortana digital assistant just yet, but if you search for queries like "who is the president of the United States?" you can follow up that search result with "how old is he?" to quickly get Barack Obama’s age. Bing will maintain the context through search queries to provide a conversation-like feature.
Cortana has similar follow-on search features, as does Google Now, but these are largely contained to mobile platforms. Bing’s update for its desktop search version is part of Microsoft’s continued efforts to leverage the company’s search work as a platform across all of its services and apps. The conversation feature might be a good addition, but it’s not visible unless you know it’s there. Microsoft is planning "additional improvements" in the days ahead, but it looks like the company is betting on users searching in similar ways on the desktop with the same queries used on mobile devices.