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."
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 results, such as news, images, video or gossip.
Page Zero also can offer a choice between two subjects with the same or similar search string, so you can let Bing know if you mean Jon Stewart the performer or Jon Stewart's show. Additionally, Zero offers a best guess as to what you're really looking for, such as the inclusion of highlighted links for Check-In and Flight Status when you search for an airline.
Sticky Search Preferences
Similarly in the growing search field of knowing-what-you-really-want, there's a new feature called Pole Position. This is a "high confidence" query where Bing is nearly certain about what you want, based on Microsoft's experience with understanding search intent through advanced machine learning. So, if you're searching for a city, Bing might present a box with current weather information about that city at the top of the page, or if you're searching for a celebrity, images of that famous person are displayed at top.
Microsoft and Google have advanced their search technologies as well as their positioning far beyond search boxes, pages of results, and contextual tie-ins with ads. In its announcements of Bing's new look and features, Microsoft points to its ability to intelligently scale its search interface for the right-size screen, whether large TVs or small watches, as well as Bing's expanded role in a wide variety of applications.
Search -- in all of its forms, including mapping -- has become a key service embedded in a wide variety of programs. Al Hilwa, Program Director for Application Development at industry research firm IDC, noted that "the need for search functions in apps is definitely rising," in part because it creates a "stickiness" as users become accustomed to a certain set of functionalities, such as a preference for how one searches for a good restaurant through a favorite mobile app.
Posted: 2013-09-23 @ 1:58am PT
It's all a scam to capture your IP and data about what you do online, then resell it and feed to you what they want you to see. Microsoft, Google and all the rest have lost the public's confidence and trust. They had it once, and screwed it up. The whole NSA thing only confirmed what we all knew: this is all about money, money and more money.
Posted: 2013-09-22 @ 10:33pm PT
More bs. What they should really do is allow you to go to any page you want by putting a page number in a box. Charging sites to be listed on certain page numbers. Like 711,21.66, etc. The way its going with patents whoever does it first wins. Best of luck Bing, said it to ya first.