Redmond, Washington -- Relentlessly attempting to outwit its arch rival Google, software maker Microsoft's Bing team on Wednesday branding it as a “fresh, de-cluttered experience,” launched a new design of the page that reveals a more streamlined layout with a focus on the search results in the middle and related searches on the right by removing what the company called unnecessary distractions.
Based on responses from user experience experiments that ran over the past few months, Bing is now tinkering with a “less is more” approach with the latest re-design of its search results page to make the results easier to scan in an effort to help users do more with search.
“Over the past few months, we have executed dozens of experiments to ascertain how you read our pages to deliver the link you are looking for,” the “Bing Team” wrote in a blog post. “Based on that feedback, we have tuned the site to make the entire page easier to scan, removing unnecessary distractions, and making the overall experience more predictable and useful. This refreshed design helps you do more with search--and gives us a canvas for bringing future innovation to you.”
In fact, the latest tweak looks very much like the “old Google.” It also one-ups Google in the simplicity department. It is more spartan than the previous Bing UI--or “clean” if you prefer. As Google has added more graphics, icons and features to its SERPs some have complained that the pages are starting to look cluttered or bloated.
Below are two examples of the previous and the new Bing SERP. First is the old look:
And here is the new look:
However, both pages are still left-justified, sparing a fair amount of white space next door. But in the search engine game, the goal seems to be to make the screen as sparse as possible.
Although Microsoft's fresh tweaks to its search results have eliminated all of the information previously crammed on the “left rail,” offering a less-cluttered look and feel. The search results themselves take center stage, so now when you perform your search you are not distracted by peripheral information.
Besides, options to filter your search and search history settings and related searches now have two locations. They appear at the bottom of the results, just above the pagination and any bottom-of-page ads. There is also a separate list of related searches in the right-sidebar. That related list appears beneath ads, if there are any for your query.
Apart from concluding the minimalist design are a top navigation for other Bing search properties like Web, Images, Videos, Maps, News and an icon that resembles a gear is set top-left, along with login information.
To add splash of style, albeit a small one, a 5-pixel high fragment of the Bing home page image appears, spanning the top margin. Also notice the color and aesthetics of the page -- the gray bar at the top and the “compressed” spacing between results and links. The new UI is “longer,” with more “whitespace,” which does make the page more readable.
Moreover, Microsoft dynamically reorganizes the page, based on what a user is searching for, and what information Bing can provide. Searching for “bacteria,” for instance, places a Wikipedia link at the top of the page, followed by a second link and then a row of images.
By the way, when users search for model “Kate Upton,” however, Bing places a Microsoft-branded MSN.com story at the top of the page, complete with a large image. That, in part, was because Upton's video was banned by YouTube, making it a trending story.
Bing Search Results: Kate Upton --Click to enlarge...
“The new experience is more than skin-deep,” Microsoft said. “You will also notice faster page-load times and improved relevance under the hood. After all, our goal is to help people spend less time searching and more time doing. And changing how we look is the next big step in doing just that.”
More so, in a nod to social networking, certain results now might sport a thumbs-up icon next to them, signifying that one or more of your Facebook friends likes that result. Hovering over the thumbnail of your friend's profile photo reveals the person's identity.