Microsoft Bing is launching five updates to search that aim to evolve SERPs beyond a list of links to provide users with a richer experience.
Bing’s latest updates have one thing in common – they all combine visually rich imagery with text-based information in a single view. The experience is described as more intuitive and engaging.
The new format is said to deliver information quickly and in a way that allows searchers to find what they need without scanning large blocks of text.
Bing’s upgraded search features include:
- Intuitive highlighting of content
- Integrated visual search
- Expandable carousels
- Infographic-like SERPs
- Richer results for local queries
Here’s more details about each of the updates announced today.
Bing is upgrading SERPs so they adapt to intuitively highlight content the searcher is engaging with.
A provided example demonstrates how this feature works with search results for recipes. You can see how Bing presents the initial results in a unique card-based format.
When a user clicks on one of the results, Bing extracts the information related to the recipe and displays it inline without leaving the search results page.
The expanded view contains information such as:
- Ingredient list (with possible substitutions)
- Calories per serving
- User reviews
- A drop-down menu to scale the recipe to a specific number of servings
- Nutritional information
To get the step-by-step cooking instructions searchers will still have to visit the actual web page.
Recipes are just one example. This feature may also be applied to other types of searches such as home improvement and creative projects.
Integrated Visual Search
While browsing through the card-based results as shown above, users will have the option to instantly conduct a visual search to find similar-looking items.
Bing has integrated the visual search button into these results, which allows users to conduct an image-based query with just a click.
“While exploring these visual results, you might see something you like but is difficult to describe with words. That’s why we’ve also integrated visual search into the experience, so you can quickly search using an image.
For example, in the “DIY coffee table” result, you may see wicker baskets that fit the table’s look and feel. With just a click, you’ll get image results of similar-looking items, and can directly click off to retailer sites to purchase a particular basket if you’re sold on it.”
Bing is upgrading its carousels with a feature that displays additional information when users hover over the results
You can see in this search for movies how hovering over a result shows details such as when the film was released, a synopsis, and review scores from multiple sources.
An upgrade that Bing says provides “style and substance” presents results in an infographic-like experience which combines text and imagery.
“For example, you can search for broad topics like “Kenya” or “giraffes”. Results for these move beyond a dense summary of text results and blue links, and aggregate the top text and visual results into an infographic-inspired experience. Curiosity piqued? Click off to sites that contain more detail or explore other related topics.”
See below for an example of the old experience compared to the new experience.
Local Search Upgrades
Bing is applying many of the same design principles shown throughout this article to local search results.
Conducting a general search about an area or landmark, like “things to do in Seattle” or “Eiffel Tower”, will return a SERP with aggregated information from multiple sources.
The upgraded local search experience combines results from Bing Maps, top images, visitor reviews, and more.
In a single view users can learn more about a location or attraction with a comprehensive overview, instead of a single carousel of images or a simple text summary.
Another example below shows how Bing adapts this new search experience to list-centric queries like “best rivers to visit” or “most interesting volcanoes”.
Many of these features are now live in Microsoft Bing. The local search features will be launching in the US only over the coming weeks.
Source: Microsoft Bing Blogs