Bing's Fall Update: More Helpful, Local, Social and Mobile

Today we spent some time in San Francisco to talk with people about the latest release of Bing which is rolling out in the coming weeks. We love getting the opportunity to share what we’re up to and talk about what’s next for search in general and for Bing in particular.

There are a number of links below that detail the features going live in the coming days. I encourage you to read the posts, try the product and please let us know what you think over at @bing on Twitter and at Now, I want to give you a high level look at how we’re thinking about this latest release.

Our focus on reimagining what search can be to better respond to what you’re doing has not changed. To do that, we are building new technologies that help Bing figure out what people like you are trying to do, and match that with the right experiences to help get things done.

The core of our work addresses the fact that the web is getting more complex and faceted- not less. At the same time, your time is being compressed more than ever. But this ever evolving web provides footholds on which Bing can build that can help cut through the noise. This evolution challenges us and the industry to more thoughtfully define search quality as more than just speed or how well we’ve matched links to your query. To us a quality search result is comprised of a few things:

  • A visually organized experience that is free of seams –where and how the information, services, multimedia, or real-time updates come together should be transparent. The information should self-assemble on the page in a logical order that moves searchers from idea to action.  
  • A focus on tasks by analyzing user interaction models on the web to drive user intent for a query and presenting the right web resources to enable getting stuff done more quickly and easily.
  • A socially relevant experience that uses Facebook and other social networks to provide Bing with the intelligence to start using your network of friends to help make decisions, just as you would ask your friends for advice in real life.
  • Device intelligence that uses ‘signals’ (like location on mobile or time of day on the desktop) to shape the results, dynamic presentation of results based on the capabilities of the device, and a recognition of typical user behavior patterns on devices. For example on mobile devices, people’s queries are more locally focused and much shorter in duration than on a desktop.

    The bottom line is that search will continue to evolve at a rapid pace as consumers come to expect more solutions at the end of their online journey rather than just more questions.

    It’s an ongoing journey, to be sure. In October, for instance, we launched a new and exclusive collaboration with Facebook designed to make search more social and relevant to you. We have lots more in store as we find new and useful ways to let you bring your friends into Bing to help you make better decisions.

    Here’s a brief look at some of the new work we showed today organized into how we think the work will benefit you:

    • More social: Expanding on our exclusive partnership with Facebook, we will now show you which of your friends have “liked” search results to help you decide the best answer to your query, whether it’s a vacation destination, movie selection, or laptop review.
    • More local: Better, easier to read and faster maps on the desktop and a focus on making the 40% of queries we see with local intent much easier.  Our Map Apps have been favorites of many users, and we’re exposing those apps more broadly by making them front and center on  Taxi Fare Calculator, Parking Lot Finder and Twitter Maps all help people make decisions in their everyday local lives and are now easier to find.  We’ve reduced the clutter and enhanced the contrast, making the maps easier to use. We also made the left-hand pane more task-oriented and are even taking you inside with interior maps for local malls and 360 degree interior panoramas for thousands of restaurants. 
    • More mobile: We’re bringing these focus areas to the mobile experience as well. However, just porting our PC product to the mobile device didn’t make sense. Instead Bing apps for Android and iPhone have all been updated to reflect how customers are using mobile devices. We’re delivering new mobile-friendly features like AutoSuggest, a new way to search by having a simple “conversation” with Bing. Integrated task completion experiences that let you book tables and have food delivered from partners OpenTable and GrubHub—right from search results like, “California Pizza Kitchen,” or “Chinese.” We also offer street-level mapping, real-time public transit status, unified “check-ins” and much more. Finally is updated with the latest HTML5 technologies to deliver an amazing browser-experience across many modern devices.

    We continue to look for new ways to bring more visual and social experiences to Bing to help make it the best place to make decisions and get stuff done.

    Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President, Online Services Division

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