Bing announced a number of new upgrades today for the Windows Phone 8, including search feature design updates, infinite scrolling for images and videos, ten new “Instant Answers” topics, and a new mobile version of Bing’s “Snapshot” feature that offers at-a-glance information.
With the new updates, tapping the Search feature on a Windows Phone 8 now will display only three result categories: Web, Images and Videos. Microsoft said the Local, Media and Shopping categories have been removed because, “…many people just don’t use them.” The intention is to reduce confusion by streamlining views.
According to the announcement, the Web search category should pull the most relevant information for the search term, removing the need for an extended list of search categories. Beyond the consolidating of result categories, Microsoft is now including more information on the search results screen so that users do not have to swipe as often. Also, Bing has improved local results in an attempt to make retrieving local business information easier.
Another added search enhancement is “richer” results for popular websites. Users will see deeper link options when they search frequently used websites. The announcement offered Delta.com as an example, showing how a search on “Delta Airlines” will deliver links to Flight Status, SkyMiles, Track Flight, Flight Schedules, etc.
For images and videos, search results have been updated to support infinite scrolling, and images have a new design layout with larger auto-sized thumbnails.
Bing also boasted “under-the-hood” upgrades to deliver faster results using less data, with images and videos populated on-demand when a user swipes them.
Bing’s “Instant Answers” feature has been expanded with ten new topics that previously were available only on the PC, including traffic, flight status, exchange rates, and word definitions and translations. This brings the total “Instant Answers” offerings on Windows Phone 8 up to 30 once the updates are complete.
Another feature moving from the PC to the Windows Phone 8 is Bing’s “Snapshot” that provides at-a-glance information on people, places or things to help users find more relevant results.
According to the announcement, the updates have already started to roll-out and will show up automatically on US phones, with additional markets to follow.