The main changes include a new logo and some adjustments to how Bing works. The interface has been tweaked to be faster, “cleaner,” and nicer to look at. Microsoft has also taken two features it added last year, Snapshot and Sidebar, and turned them into a search query support panel of sorts–when you search for a term the Bing interface now provides you with this extra contextual information in one place.
The company has devoted a lengthy blog post to the new “One Microsoft” logo and its meaning.
The wordmark is a customized version of their corporate font Segoe. They retained the lowercase ‘b’ in tribute to Bing logo heritage and to provide a slightly less obtrusive stance. The descender on the ‘g’ has been slightly modified to curve upward in a friendlier manner and the cut on the top of the ‘b’ mirrors the angle on the cut of the ‘t’ in Microsoft logo. The kerning pairs of the ‘i’ and the ‘n’ are exactly the same as the ‘i’ and the ‘n’ in the Windows wordmark. The symbol, a stylized ‘b’, evokes a sense of movement, direction and energy. The color loosely pays tribute to the orange dot from the previous Bing logo while also fully embracing the Microsoft color palette and taking inspiration from one quadrant of the corporate flag logo.
Beyond this there are a range of updates to the Bing user experience. Moreover, the Bing experience will now vary by device.
Microsoft says that overall these changes are intended to deliver information more quickly and in more helpful or actionable ways. The company also says there are more to come as it builds out a “next-generation” search experience, making it “no longer just a search engine.”
Social Sidebar and Snapshot
Microsoft has wisely combined its Social Sidebar and Snapshot into a single, more prominent right column. Social content will now reside below the structured data on a subject.
The new page is simpler and Snapshot is wider (almost half the page width). It’s also shaded to differentiate it from the main results. And, as mentioned, social results have been integrated under the structured content, often below the fold.
It gives users search data “before they even see the first results page.” The interface spots what you’re doing as you type and displays key results even as you’re entering the search phrases. These are also deep links that provide shortcuts to common information objectives. It works on the homepage and from search results pages equally. The idea is to enable discovery of information quickly.
Pole Position is another new feature, essentially an answer that Bing will prominently display when it has confidence about user intent that pops up with some pre-populated and more detailed search results.
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.
Microsoft has decided to rebrand Bing to reflect the fact that it is now integrated into Microsoft products (Excel, Word, and Xbox) and devices.