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PSA: Bing Search update for Windows Phone 8 going wider in the US

Back at the beginning of August, Microsoft detailed the upcoming changes to Bing Search for Windows Phone 8. The change was meant to keep Windows Phone 8 in line with the current desktop version of Bing and due to metrics on user action, the Search layout was changed.

It was noted though that these changes, which are occurring on Microsoft’s backend and not the device itself, would be rolling out to the US first and the rest of the world in the coming weeks. At the time quite a few of you in the US already had the update, though on our T-Mobile and AT&T devices, we were left out of the mix.

However, since yesterday we’ve noticed our Bing Search has finally received the previously announced overhaul, merging Local results and giving media a new layout. In addition, we’ve had a handful of tips from readers noting the same change, so we’re surmising that Microsoft has activated a second stage of deployment.

Have you noticed the changes? If so let us know below with your location.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I hate it. I was eagerly anticipating this update until I received it 3 days ago. It buries the local search within web and sometimes (!) doesn't even show any local results! I put in "wells Fargo" yesterday and not once did it show me a local wells fargo bank (the old way would have - it was my most used windows phone feature). Used Nokia maps to find a local wells Fargo instead. And as nice as Nokia maps is, its slower than simply binging it. I wish it could go back to the old way
  • Maybe its down to the rollout, just tried it and got local wells Fargo locations at the top of the search results.
  • Thanks. Just checked again and yes Wells Fargo is at the top. Awesome. Maybe you're right and it didn't fully rollout yet or something to me. If it consistenylu shows my local results I retract my original post
  • I got the "update" a while ago.
    Local results regularly don't show up where they use to, mainly retail stores and restaurants.
    I don't understand how I could have gotten half of an update where local results are broken,  (I live in the Washington DC suburbs so my locations shouldn't be a factor)
  • Really really not a fan of this change on mobile. Burying Local seems like a step backwards. 99% of the time I use the Bing button on my phone it is to find something local.
  • They dont bury Local they merge it into the main search which is logical 
  • If they're going to merge Local and Web, why have any pivots? I'm not seeing how this new arrangement is logical.
  • Try changing your "browser and search language" to "English (Canada)". We don't get nice things.
  • Agree. I did not like this update since local searches are deeply buried. I was trying to find a local AutoZone. Previously it would show the local ones, website, phone numbers etc. Now it just seems a bit harder and tedious.
    EDIT. Ok maybe its not THAT bad but I still prefer the previous layout.
  • Completely agree! You can't find local info anymore. This sucks.
  • If you search for generic term, e.g. Car repair, it will give you all local results with phone numbers and a link to Drive/navigation. But if you search for, lets say, AutoZone, it will give you web results with links to AutoZone's web pages that has phone numbers or directions. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.
  • Last couple days it's been funky but now its working with local at the top. Now I'm liking the new layout.
  • Really really dislike this new layout. Tried searching for Starbucks, Home Depot, and McDonalds. Not a SINGLE local result. Seems the only way I can find that now is to go to Maps. The starbucks result for instance, under the web tab has web results, images, more web results, videos, more web results, apps, related searches, more web results.
    Also, why on earth do they list image and video results within the web results if there are separate tabs for those? This thing is an absolute mess now.
  • You're not doing it right, then. 
    I searched for Starbucks, and at the very top, it shows the official Starbucks website, below that is a map of the nearest location and below that are the locations of the next 3 closest stores with phone numbers and directions.
    The new layout is great, in my opinion.
  • And you're not reading me correctly. I just did a Starbucks search and my layout is in a different order than what you just laid out
  • Maybe I get extra special Starbucks treatment because I'm in Seattle.  ;)
  • Okay then, since you're obviously so much better at this than I am, please tell me how to "do it right." Here's what I'm doing:
    Hit search icon
    Type in "starbucks"
    Hit enter
    My results? Web, news, apps, web, related searches, more web. Not a single local result. No maps, no phone numbers. Nothing. If I go to Maps (MS or Nokia) it immediately knows exactly where I am. This is different than what I got earlier today too.
    I stand by my initial claim - these changes as they have been rolled out are utter garbage.
  • I'm sorry yours isn't working properly.  I hope it gets updated for you because when it works, it really is a great layout.
  • It looks like it's not fully rolled out yet. I am getting local results for starbucks, but not some restaurants and banks.
  • Try typing in your city after the search. I couldn't get anything for Starbucks, McDonald's or Meijer unless I put in Lansing afterward. Locally owned businesses seemed to work fine, though.
  • I also can't stand the lack of local results, I've been using the maps program to search for local results since the update went live on my l920.
    On my mobile device I search many more local items than images or video.
  • I agree with the others, the new local is total crap. 
  • Mine doesn't work. I don't get any local results. No pivot (which is expected after the upgrade) but no local results in web. Now to search for businesses I have to open Nokia drive, but then I don't have phone #"s or hours. Its not that I am resistant to change, its just that I don't get the information I need, no blended web and local. I don't want to go to the vendors website just to see address/#/hours. if someone knows of a fix let me know. US ATT 1020
  • Give it time. In a few days you may get I guess, a second update... That populates the local search more. Thats what happened to me
  • +1,000,000
  • Let me as ask do you have T-Mobile because I noticed that on my wife's phone but not on mine. I hit cvs on her phone and she didn't get any of the local search. I did on my ATT and the local search was on top. I am wondering if TMO and ATT got different updates.
  • I have at&t. The 920
  • Local & Web have integrated looks so much better.
  • I still don't see local results for things I normally would. I mostly used Bing for the local results. Not liking this change, I don't care much about videos of "coffee".
  • I'm seeing it on my 920, using AT&T in New York metro area.
  • Just checked and I have it in the DC area on a Rogers 920 on Tmo.
  • I'm in the DC area also. Are you getting reliable local results for searches?
  • Being from the rest of the world, For the first time I'm happy MS is ignoring our ass, i absolutely love local search results. My android,friends,think its pretty neat.
  • Being from the _very_ rest of the world, I still can't wait to say I'm happy to get something more interesting than desktop(!!!) page of Bing after tapping the search button. Our local search provider Yandex (Russia) sucks and the third option is Google's mobile page which I'd be happy to ignore just because it's google.
  • Huh, got it too.
    Have to take it for a spin.
  • I have it Canada by using US search. Changed over last week for me.
  • I'm on Rogers in Ontario and I have it if I change my browser and search language to "English ('Murka)".
  • I got it on my unlocked 720 here in Brazil too
  • I am finding it harder to find local businesses. It mostly just gives me their official websites instead of finding a location close to me. It had been quite frustrating. Though when it DOES find the local business, its nice to have a direct call button. I just wish they didn't combine web and local searches.
  • Try typing in your city after the search. I couldn't get anything for Starbucks, McDonald's or Meijer unless I put in Lansing afterward. Locally owned businesses seemed to work fine, though.
  • Yeah, I used the Local tab a lot.  Do not like the new search.  
  • Got it on my Lumia 1020. Like very much so far :-)
  • I got it. Lumia 920 att. Pretty slick I must say. Like the one button press for drive navigation
  • If I leave on the setting for Bing to use my location, I get ZERO local search results. If I turn off the option for use of my location, the local search results show up. Fantastic, right? Not really. All my results are for Philadelphia pr London....and I live in f'n Detroit. This is starting to be right up there with Xbox Music and Xbox Video. WP and Windows 8 had so much promise, but instead of them bettering areas and fixing others, everything seemed pt be getting worse. This is ridiculous.
  • Try typing in your city after the search. I couldn't get anything for Starbucks, McDonald's or Meijer unless I put in Lansing afterward. Locally owned businesses seemed to work fine, though.
  • Confirmed. I just noticed that and came here to post before I saw yours. The funny thing is that with location off I get sort of local results (Bellevue instead of Seattle) and get the link to turn on location for better local results. I click that, turn it and the search reruns.... With no local results. Typing Seattle after a term does return local sometimes, but for things all over town, not near me. Definitely broken.
  • It seems to have been in some transitional stages over the last few days, with image results running off the screen. Just checked it  now and it's a bit messier, with an extra Bing search bar at the top of all of the pages, though the media results do stay on the screen. I will miss the Local page unless they have something new coming to replace it.
  • Oh, Lumia 920, AT&T, Arkansas USA
  • Yeah same here with the images running off the screen issue. Glad it was fixed. Loving the new local feature however.
  • Looks like I got it. Its kinda insane if you think about it. Like stuff on your phone just changes without ur knowledge! Lol at least knowledge of when it will happen
  • I like how if you search for lets say "coffee" it will include local places like Starbucks with a location, phone and drive information. And when you select drive, that the Here drive app fires up ready to go. That integration is pretty slick.
  • I have. Located in Virginia.
  • This update blurs images
  • I don't like it, tried few searches like bestbuy and did not get any local info. Local tab was the main reason to use the search button.
    I think Bing on WP is going backwards, first it lost the context sensitivity and now the local info. What's the use of search on a mobile device other than these two instances.
  • Try typing in your city after the search. I couldn't get anything for Starbucks, McDonald's or Meijer unless I put in Lansing afterward. Locally owned businesses seemed to work fine, though.
  • Losing the local is a HUGE step back. Was also one of my most used. I originally thought Nokia had blocked it because it forces you to use their maps! I never get any local results now ( in new York city!) where can we complain about this?
  • Try typing in your city after the search. I couldn't get anything for Starbucks, McDonald's or Meijer unless I put in Lansing afterward. Locally owned businesses seemed to work fine, though.
  • That sort of works but the results are not really local but all over the city.
  • Just got it. Nice! I'm not as concerned about the reorganization of results and so-called "burying" of local. When you actually use it (for example, search for a local restaurant), the local results seem to be intelligently prioritized within web. I just don't think there's always enough of a need for local results to warrant an entire results category. Well done, Bing!
  • same as image above. Malaysia
  • Changed this morning on tmobile for me in New Orleans. I actually like it. Played with it using different searches and so far has been spot on
  • i got this change after 2-3 days when you posted last post regarding Microsoft details forthcoming changes to Bing search on Windows Phone 8. may be 7-10 aug 2013 I m from INDIA
  • Now it clear why my LOCAL search has vanished.....this is whack...
  • Am I the only one who extensively uses the image search on a mobile device? I'm a little annoyed that there is a limit to the amount images you can view from bing search. May be nit-picking but why can"t I view images until my eyeballs bleed through my sockets?
  • I like the improvements to photos and video's, infinite to phone. No longer the need to hit more...
    Hell, use local scout your areas.
  • I definitely do wish the location search would come up first instead of news then the map!
  • Yup this has been working for a few days now, I first noticed it with the drive and call buttons, which are great!
  • Hayward,CA changes are confirmed here in the Bay Area. Looks great running smooth. KEEP UP THE WORK MICROSOFT.
  • I miss the local search
  • Just got my update today. Pretty awesome compared to the old Bing
  • I am in Manhattan and typing " Starbucks " , " bank of America " , " chipotle" brings up NO local results in the search. The only way to do it is to to add " new York" on the end and it works every time...that seems ridiculous as Bing knows my location!
  • Its not a user error. Its a Bing error. But thanks for making a false accusation.
  • I got mine today at&t Nokia Lumia 920
  • It's on T-Mo Lumia 810, Indiana, USA.
  • So now it's only half a year to never till the rest of the non US get's those features :-). Seriously though it'll probably take a few months as these things usually go if they even port all features.
  • I have it, and I'm in germany.
  • At first, image search was all messed up. Some images would overflow off the screen, and some you couldn't see at all. Then I noticed more changes to web searches, with news articles and such being layed out differently. Today, I realized there was a rollout of changes, and I did a search that was messed up yesterday and the images are nicely tucked inside the screen dimensions. Local results are nice, because you can click to call and drive without opening the specific Bing page for that venue. Love the aesthetics as well.
  • Mine is updated; 8X on VZW in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I like the results.  Relevant and concise.  I wish the APP section was a little higher as it helps promote going to apps instead of the web but its still a better set up.
  • Working very well here in my location in Texas. Searching for things like "Autozone, StarBucks, NewsPaper" Local Results are posted with phone numbers and location's has well at the very top.
  • Whoever came up with this lame idea must be secretly working for Google or Apple. Only three search results,are you kidding?
  • So, let me get this straight... 
    You want to quickly find directions to, say, the closest Starbucks and it angers you that they don't show you the 4th, 5th or 6th closest locations?  How many locations do you want to drive past before you stop?
  • my wife has had it for about 2-3 weeks. I just got it last night on my 1020. Awesome how you can call a store directly from Bing and also links to drive too.
  • Looks great so much cleaner in my opinion
  • This is actually very interesting; MS should move to this type of update process; it would be much easier to cut out carriers in the process for updates and upgrades
  • Not sure how much different this all is, beyond the merging of Web and Local.  I did a couple of basic searches on "restaurants" and "pharmacy" and in the results under Web would give me 3 urls then the local results for nearby locations related to the search.  If I want to expand the list, I click on "see more business listings".  Seem pretty straight forward to me and everything is still there as before.  I do like the "drive" link as well.  Overall, looks good to go.
  • This updated is horrible. The "local" results are buried or non-existent and not allowing the user to specifically define a "local" request is ridiculous. Also, the image search is horrible. The resulting images are horrible quality. They all look blury, even if you select and image to view it by itself.
    I was excited by this update, but now that I got it, I hate it. Its horrible.
  • I'm willing to wait before passing further judgment, they could be in the middle of analyzing and perfecting the new changes. But only three search results is unacceptable. And pressing the links for more results only gives you an error message and no additional results.
  • I just got it. Works great!
    All local results showing up for me. I like it much more than before. I will be using the bing button exclusively now.
  • I don't like the new images layout. Images are low resolution unless you zoom in on them?
  • what I don't get is why it often gives a string of image thumbnail results in the Web section, when there's an Image pivot just to the right. ???
  • I think the layout and what Bing is finding are two separate issues.  I do like the layout, *when Bing finds local results*.  However, Bing is often not finding local results that it should find and would have found before I believe.
    Example:  I binged "autozone".  It found no local results.  Scrolling down on the Web tab in Related Searches was "Auto Zone Store".  I selected that and 3 local AutoZone stores were displayed at the top of the Web page, and they are all named "autozone", exactly matching my first search.  Why did a search for "autozone" not turn these up but a search for "Auto Zone Store" did turn them up?
    The *exact* same thing happened when I searched for "panera".  No local results.  Found "Panera Locations" in Related Searches, tapped that, and then 3 local Panera locations showed up in the list.
    So I like the layout, but Bing is currently not finding local results that it should be finding.  Let's get this fixed, Bing folks.
  • EXACTLY I Bing "Home Depot," "Target," etc. And get nothing for local results. And there are plenty of those in my area. Something is broken with their search function. That's why having the local results tab was helpful because you could specifically narrow that down. FAIL
  • Home Depot, Target, and Autozone are all working for me.
  • My wife and I both have Nokia Lumias 920's. We both have the Bing update. When she searches for local businesses, she gets local results at the top of her search with phone or drive options. When I search on my phone I get web links. Here's the fun part. If I turn off the location option on my phone, it works like hers. I turn the location option back on, it shows web links in the search results again.
  • Strange... When I search for McDonalds I get the old Bing search with the location tab. When I search for Starbucks I get the new format without the location tab.
    Edit: OK, now I'm getting the updated search for McDonalds...
  • I have it, 8XT on Sprint in St. Louis. I don't like it, but I have it.
  • I've got it on my AT&T Lumia 920. Now if I could just get that elusive amber update from AT&T. Good thing they don't have control over releasing this search update or I would still be waiting.
  • I am using nokia 1020 , why cany i see this bing search changes, my bing search just looks like old one , i cant see the changes
  • Yes... INDIA
  • Not sure if it was there before, but I noticed a separate "Call" and "Drive" button underneath a restaurants Bing search when I search for one. Came in handy over the weekend when I searched for a neaby pizzeria and wanted to call in a delivery.
  • Lumia 925 - Tmobile. US.
    I got the update and I love it.  It's clean and intuitive.  The local information is sorted to the top in a very useful and easy to use layout.
    However, it appears that there may be a little glitch at the moment.  Each page shows a smaller Bing search bar at the top, before the results, with additional links to Web, Images and Videos.  Perhaps an artifact from the desktop version.  I would expect this to be sorted out soon.
    Nice work, MS!
  • I wish they wouldn't have changed the local part. It is not always mixed with web search. You have to add "locations" sometimes but that still doesn't always tell me which one is closest. That was one of my favorite features too!
  • I've had the changes for about a week, and I really like them! My only complaint is that all images are really low-res under the 'images' page. Other than that, I like this update a lot.
    HTC 8x on Verizon, in California.
  • I feared this update when I first heard about a few weeks back as I LOVE the local tab. A few days ago my wife got it on her 920 and was not happy, I told here to use Maps instead.  I got it today on my 1020 and wish I could go back somehow. The local results are nice IF THEY ACTUALLY SHOW UP. I hope they fix this fast, it really stinks.
  • Lumia 928 on Verizon in northern NJ and I noticed the updated results on Sunday 8/25
  • The new Bing is up and running here in Miami on my AT&T 920
  • When I search Starbucks on my 1020, I don't get locations or numbers. My wifes 920 does though. Any idea?
  • This is the best thing since sliced bread and hoho's!
  • Got it a few days ago in Chicago! Love what they did as it makes everything more seamless, and the added celebrity cards are an added welcome!
  • Like how local results are at the top with direct one click buttons to call and to navigate/drive to with Nokia Drive!
    They could make the caterogies (see more business listings, news/see more news, apps/see more apps) of results on the "web" tab more clear, now they all kind of blur especially if scrolling up and down quickly.
  • I searched for Wells Fargo and the app is in the middle of the page! WTH!
  • Yup, its live here in the Orlando area.
  • Agreed: the new local is a step backwards. It is usable, but no longer as quick to access as it was in the "Smoked by Windows Phone" era.
    I also wish the Bing photo stretched across the panorama of all of the screens. It is a pretty photo and would work perfectly for that.
    Outside of the changes to local, it's nice.
  • Only thing I don't like is the local tab being gone. Now everytime I search for a business, it shows web listings. Sometimes it will show actual local businesses I can click on near the top, sometimes they are down in the middle some... And most of the time there's nothing at all. Being without this feature I had since wp7, I'm pretty disappointed.
  • It hit me in Toronto Canada. Im also not happy about removal of local search. About 50% of my Bing searches were local searches and Local Scout isn't supported in Canada (even though you can enable it via a known workaround)
  • I like it .
  • I guess being in NY I might get these around the same time as you Daniel... ;)
  • Just got the new layout about an our ago Central Jersey/Jersey shore, US. Now if I can just get GDR 2 for my Verizon 8x.
  • I am one of the many who received the change but do not have local results either at the top, or at all.  Looking forward for it to change sooner rather then later.
  • I don't get all these complaints about local results.
    One person pointed out that when searching for box stores by name (home depot, target, etc), they get zero locale results... but when I'd the same search, I got a map with 3 of the closest home depots pinned and directly up under the map those locations are listed including address, phone number and a link for directions.
    Personally, after playing with it I think it's a great update. I wonder why some people are having such problems?
  • My wife and I both have Nokia Lumias 920's. We both have the Bing update. When she searches for local businesses, she gets local results at the top of her search with phone or drive options. When I search on my phone I get web links. Here's the fun part. If I turn off the location option on my phone, it works like hers. I turn the location option back on, it shows web links in the search results again.
  • Trust me, I wish it worked that way for me. Neither home depot or target return any local examples, however cvs does. Basically it's just not consistent. I've found that if I append "in [town]" then it will work. I'm outside Boston, MA. 
  • In Malaysia, Bing censored the search....big time suck...
  • Yes , I got the updated Bing Search with Web, Media & Videos tap ... Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Got it. Local results with phone number and drive app buttons... stellar layout! I first noticed the change in Binghamton driving home to Long Island this past Saturday. Definitely needs to list more local mom and pop businesses.
  • The local results are missing on mine too, making this a big disappointment. Once they fix it (and from the comments of others it sounds like it is coming) this should be good.
    AT&T Lumia 920 Washington state
  • Got it.. Though doesn't look like the current time or dictionary feature is working. Lumia 1020, AT&T
  • I already got it about a week ago. PS: I am in Kuwait. ;)
  • I want the option to search by date