An update to the way Bing presents search results should help improve the browsing experience for Bing on Windows Phone users, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft detailed the changes in full on the Windows Phone Blog today, which finally address some of the issues users had when browsing results that the Bing hub gave them.
Microsoft is whittling down the different result categories to just ‘web,’ ‘images’ and ‘videos’. ‘Shopping,’ ‘local’ and ‘media results will be simply be shown underneath the web area. Microsoft cites the need to streamline results as the reason for the change, saying “some people just [didn’t] use them all.”
In addition to moving some search results, Bing will now surface more information in the web view, including options for driving directions and calling. This change should result in less swiping and tapping for users. The new web view will also surface options inside of particular websites right up front. In the example, Microsoft provided, users who search Delta Airlines will see options for flight tracking and schedules immediately, instead of having to open Delta’s website from the web view first.
Microsoft says it has also boosted performance by adding on-demand loading of images and videos instead of loading a large amount of media at the same time. This should also help users save just a little more data if they are not connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Finally, Microsoft will bring two of the Bing website’s most useful features to Windows Phone 8. Starting with this update, users will be able to ask Bing on Windows Phone questions and instantly get their answer. For example, asking “What is the value of the dollar?” will now get you an immediate response. Until now, this was a feature that only surfaced on the Bing website. Combined with the Bing’s voice input features that were already a part of Windows Phone, this should finally grant users a more Siri-esque way of searching for information than has ever been available on Windows Phone.
Apple’s Siri search engine/personal assistant allows iPhone and iPad users to ask questions or search the internet with just their voice. Unfortunately, Bing on Windows Phone isn’t capable giving audio answers, so users will have to still look at their screen.
Bing on Windows Phone will now present users with more “glance and go” information using the same Snapshot technique that Bing.com uses.
Microsoft says that users should start to see the changes over the next few weeks in the United States. Once the roll out is finished there, other Windows Phone users around the world will get the update. Users won’t need to do anything to actually get the new Bing experience on their devices. Since Bing acts as a web application, it can be updated without the need for an update to the Windows Phone operating system.
All indications seem to point to this new Bing experience not coming to Windows Phone 7 or Windows Phone 7.5 user.