Bing is rolling out a set of upgrades for Windows Phone. The update streamlines the interface and adds some new features. It will show up automatically on US phones in the coming weeks, with the UK and other markets following later.
Cosmetically, the biggest change is that Bing has abandoned the previous four different search result categories – Web, Local, Media, and Shopping – cutting them down to just three: Web, Images, and Videos.
According to Bing product manager Alisher Saydalikhodjayev, ‘As useful as some of the existing views might seem, many people just don’t use them all—or know that they’re there. Consolidating and streamlining the views should reduce confusion and help people find what they’re looking for more easily.’
The new Web category, for example, is designed to be smart enough to show whatever’s most relevant to your search, including images, videos, and local results. ‘We’re going to put more info on your first search result screen,’ Saydalikhodjayev says, meaning less swiping.
The update also brings richer results for popular websites. For example, if you search for ‘Delta Airlines’ Bing shows delta.com as the top result, but also provides links to Flight Status, SkyMiles, Track Flight, Flight Schedules, and other popular destinations within the site, saving further taps.
The new Images and Videos categories now support infinite scrolling. Images also received a design makeover that brings larger, auto-sized thumbnails.
Some tweaks are designed to make Bing present results faster on your phone and use data more economically. Saydalikhodjayev says that, after the update, your phone will download results only for the default Web view. Images and Videos are populated on demand if you swipe over to them.
At present Bing fills all four existing categories with results every time you search, whether you use them or not.