It was announced by Microsoft that new features for Bing are being rolled out. Some features, like Bing’s new logo, are cosmetic, while others are more structural. Similar to a recent post we did on new logo identity, the new logo is symbolic of the deeper integration across the products and devices of Microsoft.
A blog post by the company talks about the new “One Microsoft” logo and its meaning.
Moving to the structured features of Bing user experience. These experiences will now vary by device.
According to Microsoft, the changes should help deliver information more quickly, as well as be more helpful or actionable to it’s users. They say that there is more to come. Bing will no longer just be a place to search, but a “next-generation” search experience. They want to move past just being a simple search engine.
New Snapshot: Combining Sidebar and Old Snapshot
A feature that Microsoft has integrated is the combination of the Social Sidebar and Snapshot. This combination is now a prominent right column. Below the structure data on the subject, you will find social content.
Below are two “before and after” examples for the query “Miss America.” In the first image, you’ll see it’s the current Bing results page. The second image is the new page layout for the same result.
Microsoft has also unveiled a feature called Page Zero. Page Zero are deep links that will provide shortcuts to common information objectives. This feature will work on the both the homepage as well as the search results equally. The idea behind Page Zero is to be able to discover information quickly.
Another new feature of Bing is Pole Position. What this feature will do is basically give an answer that will be displayed when Bing has the confidence about the search intent of it’s user. At this point, these new results were only found in a few cases.
Below are two Pole Position examples for weather and a celebrity name, Nina Davuluri (Miss America).
Here’s what Microsoft says about when Pole Position will be triggered:
We’re now introducing a new surface area at the top of the page called “Pole Position” for results where we have high confidence on a user’s intent. When we know that someone wants images of a celebrity, is looking for a specific fact or needs a detailed view of the weather in a particular city, we now provide a much larger answer beautifully integrated at the top of the page. These larger format answers help people find the best answer for their question.
The Adaption To Different Devices And Screen Sizes
Microsoft has designed the newest features of Bing to work better with a broad range of devices. The results will look somewhat differently when displayed on each screen type, whether it’s a wide screen TV or a tablet or a smart phone. Even the colors and overall appearance can be a little different, depending on the screenshots that have been seen.
Page elements will change based on what’s appropriate for the usage context:
Our new layout is built from the ground up to work across devices and will adjust both to the size of the screen and the context of the user so we present the right experience at the right time. Results should look as beautiful on a Surface or iPad as they do on a PC or phone. Our new platform will enable us to improve experiences across an ever growing range of devices, like mobile . . . Part of this focus on mobile and tablet devices means integrating touch into our experiences and we’ve introduced a number of capabilities to allow for more rapid refinements in the future.
The updated design of Bing, regardless of the screen it’s being viewed on, aims to be more visually attractive and more simple. They aim to make it more “human” across all devices. Microsoft feels these changes are a part of an evolution of it’s search engine, and its role within the larger Microsoft family.
Keep in mind that these changes and features won’t necessarily be immediately available to people. These features will be rolling out over the next few days.