As explained on the company’s blog, the redesign emphasis mainly on presentation: when clicking on an image, a lightbox-style interface with a dark background makes it easier to focus on the image you are looking at, while the stream of additional search results below has been enlarged to make browsing easier.
Now, rather than loading the actual page with the image after you click on a thumbnail, Bing now brings up a large image viewer that, as the company claims, places “the image center stage.” Clicking on the image takes you to a new full-screen image that fill your browser’s screen – and while it may not be true “full-screen” in the way we think of applications, it is a quick and easy way to see a bigger version of a given image.
Also, a thumbnail photo strip of similar image search results appears below the search box that lets users see a preview of the site the image is pulled from without needing to click through, and a list of recommended searches in the right sidebar.
Expounding on the new release, the company stated, “We ‘dimmed the lights’ around the photo, adding a darker look that makes it easier on the eyes and lets the results shine in high definition,” says Bing Image Search program manager Jon Noronha. “Simply click on the main image to navigate to the original source web page.”
In fact, one of the awesome feature here is that you can use your arrow keys to navigate between the various images on the photo strip. It is also quite remarkable how fast the experience is. As Microsoft notes, the Bing team rebuilt the viewer “from the ground up focusing on speed improvements so you can see a picture immediately, without wasting time waiting for the page to load.”
Here is the before and after image:
Overall, the refreshed site lets you fiddle through various options such as: “more sizes” or “similar images” for more image options.
Nevertheless, it all looks somewhat identical to the photo viewers offered by Facebook and Google+, and while it may not be a revolutionary upgrade unto itself it is no doubt a welcome improvement — and yet another sign that Microsoft has no intentions of giving up on the aspirational search engine anytime soon.