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BBC News says it is also seen as a response to Google’s “Knowledge Graph” that consolidates search information about specific subjects.

Microsoft said that when information from Britannica was relevant to a search, Bing users would see a small box summarising salient facts about a topic or subject.

According to Tech Crunch, the search engine’s answer feature tries to provide users with a snippet of useful information related to their questions and keywords without having to visit a Web page.

Results from Encyclopaedia Britannica will now feature a thumbnail and some useful facts about the topic (as well as links to Wikipedia, Britannica, Freebase and – for those who don’t like to read – Qwiki).

By Nadine Arendse