Bing Search Engine Gets a Modern Makeover

Microsoft is going after Google's search platform with a refresh of its Bing search service. Enhancements to Bing include an updated look for the homepage, new functionalities and an increased emphasis on Bing as a platform rather than just results from a search box.

In postings on its official Bing blog, Microsoft has highlighted the thinking behind its new look and increased capabilities. The Web, wrote Bing User Experience Manager Lawrence Ripsher on Monday, "has changed from a collection of documents to a constantly growing digital version of life as we know it," and search has become more than "simply a box that people type into."

He pointed to voice searches via Xbox consoles, smartphones that offer contextually relevant suggestions, and Bing image search embedded in Microsoft Word. Ripsher said that Bing's revised homepage design, the result of "hundreds of iterations," is intended to reflect this expanded view of search, with an emphasis on speed and a choice of trending topics. The new logo contains visual elements suggesting a prism, and is intended to show "energy and motion."

Page Zero

Two features introduced last year -- Snapshot and Sidebar -- are being combined to provide a new level of supporting context for a query. As an example of this enhanced context, Microsoft gives the example of a search for famed U.S. "Highway 1," which now results in a Snapshot box of factual data that Bing knows about that topic, including length and date of construction, and a Sidebar with friends' status updates, tweets or photos on that topic.

A new function called Page Zero provides information that Bing thinks you want to know about that topic, even as you're typing. For instance, start typing a search for Katy Perry and Bing now provides basic information on the singer, plus its most popular collections of related...

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