Windows Phone Central has had few isolated reports recently of changes to the Bing search results on Windows Phone 8. We can now confirm that they are real and coming to all Windows Phone 8 devices soon. The changes include a new layout and appear to be the result of usability feedback to Bing.
One of those changes that was brought to our attention is the ability to receive a direct definition of a word in the results (seen above), as opposed to clicking a link to a dictionary site. The biggest change though is in the number of pivots, dropping from the previous four to three: Web, Local, Media, and Shopping versus the new Web, Images and Video. In addition to that change, the pivots themselves have been re-designed with a new layout for information.
The site Windows Phone Daily detailed the changes last night, noting that the Web section is more “context heavy” with local results, including maps, being intertwined with the general web results. Likewise, product cards for items searched will also be merged into the Web results. The resulting change appears to be streamlining the search process so that users have less pivot changes to make when doing basic searches.
Finally, Images and Video, previously both under “Media” now each has separate pivots as well, with larger image previews and a new two-column video layout.
Not everyone has it, yet
We have to second-hand report this information as most Windows Phone 8 devices, including our own, do not yet have these modifications. When the alterations do happen, users won’t need to do anything as it will all be pushed from Bing’s backend servers to the device. So far it seems limited to only those in the U.S., though even there it is only a minority of users.
We reached out to Microsoft on the matter and we are able to now report that these changes will go worldwide:
“We can confirm that people will now see a refreshed experience when they use Bing on Windows Phone 8. The updated experience is rolling out gradually and will be available globally on all Windows Phone 8 devices in the coming weeks.”
So there you go. These changes are official and are confirmed as rolling out, though it may take a few weeks to propagate. We think the updates make more sense and obviously the Bing team is making them to better align with the web version of the search tool.
Have you noticed the changes? And if so, what do you think? Let us know in comments.
Screencaps via Windows Phone Daily; also thanks to aphrophyre