Microsoft Introduces Big Changes to Bing Search Engine
Tired of using Google? There are alternatives. One of the web’s rising search stars is actually Microsoft’s Bing, first unveiled in the middle of 2009. After a hot start the site has cooled a bit in popularity, prompting Microsoft to offer a much-needed overhaul.
Microsoft on Wednesday revealed a new look for Bing.com, and says that its fundamental goal in introducing the many changes was to “de-clutter” the main search results page.
How has it done this? For one, it has eliminated what it calls the “left rail” navigation menu and has minimized the standard header where categories like “Images” and “Videos” allow users to refine their results. It has also introduced a feature where related searches are presented to the right.
The most interesting addition by Microsoft may be a more intelligent search results layout. For example, searching for terms that are likely to lead to image scrolling — “dogs,” for example — will result in pictures of the desired item donning the top of the page.
However, in cases where it’s unlikely an image gallery will help, such as in a scenario where one searches for ‘bacteria,’ web pages like Wikipedia will dominate the results listing.
Besides the visual adjustments, Microsoft says that it’s also improved the technical side of the equation, making the search process much faster.
“The new experience is more than skin-deep,” Microsoft said, adding, “You will also notice faster page-load times and improved relevance under the hood. After all, our goal is to help people spend less time searching and more time doing. And changing how we look is the next big step in doing just that.”
Microsoft insists that the visual and technical changes are the result of months of ongoing research. “We’ve run dozens of experiments to determine how you read our pages to deliver the link you’re looking for,” the company’s “Bing Team” noted in a blog post.
“Based on that feedback, we’ve tuned the site to make the entire page easier to scan, removing unnecessary distractions, and making the overall experience more predictable and useful. This refreshed design helps you do more with search—and gives us a canvas for bringing future innovation to you.”
One notable exception from the new Bing is a role for social networking sharing. So far sites like Facebook and Twitter remain somewhat outside the fold.