This morning at Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York 2010, Microsoft Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi announced a major update to the company's Bing search engine, adding a UI refresh and other features that will roll out to customers over the next few months.
"We want Bing to be the best place to help you make better decisions," a statement from the Bing team reads. "One of the ways we help customers get to better decisions is by providing a more visual, more intuitive, and more organized experience. This spring, we will continue this evolution by making some changes to our user experience and providing new experiences throughout search."
The coming changes to Bing include:
Updated UI. Bing will begin featuring an updated UI that adapts based on the type of query being made, and the overall design is being tweaked to be more visual and organized. This feature is being slowly rolled out so that Microsoft can garner feedback; today, about 5 percent of Bing queries will see the new layout.
New automobile search experience. In keeping with previous efforts to aggregate disconnected content from around the web and present it in a single, cohesive UI, Bing will now feature a new automobile search experience. This update will roll out to all Bing users in the coming weeks, Microsoft says.
Bing Maps with Foursquare. An update to the Bing Maps experience will integrate features from the Foursquare online service, which provides local information and community features. Foursquare information such as check-ins, badges, and other real-time data will now appear directly inside the Silverlight-based Bing Maps experience. This will go live with Bing users over the next few months.
Since rolling out the Bing search engine last year, Microsoft has steadily and slowly gained usage share. More important, perhaps, the company has also been beefing up the capabilities of the service on an ongoing basis. Previous updates include Twitter integration, Worldwide Telescope and Streetside view for Bing Maps, and more.
The Bing service is available at bing.com.