Windows Phone 8 Bing features updated, streamlined

On Friday, Microsoft quietly started rolling out changes to the Bing search experience for Windows Phone 8. At the time, Microsoft confirmed the Bing update but did not offer any more details. Today, the company has officially revealed more information on the Windows Phone 8 changes it has made to Bing.

In a post on the Windows Phone blog, Microsoft addressed why they reduced the Bing search categories from four (Web, Local, Media, and Shopping) to just three (Web, Images, and Videos). Microsoft's Michael Stroh stated:

As useful as some of the existing views might seem, many people just don’t use them all—or know that they’re there, Bing product manager Alisher Saydalikhodjayev told me. Consolidating and streamlining the views should reduce confusion and help people find what they’re looking for more easily.

The Web category now incorporates local search results, along with images and video, which in theory means less swiping on a Windows Phone device. As previously reported, the Images category now has large thumbnail previews of photos and also uses infinite scrolling. Microsoft said there's also been some backend improvements that will bring up search results faster but use less wireless data.

The new Windows Phone 8 Bing experience includes more Instant Answers for a variety of search terms, including  "traffic, flight status, exchange rates, word definitions and translations, and more." US Windows Phone 8 users will also see the Snapshot information feature that was launched on the desktop version of Bing in December incorporated into their Bing searches for individual people, places and other topics.

The new Bing changes won't be available everywhere at once; Microsoft will roll out features to Windows Phone 8 device owners over the next few weeks.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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