Bing Goes Search-Retro With Cleaner Look For Results

Microsoft has started to roll out a new, simpler look for the Bing SERP. It looks very much like the “old Google.” It’s more spartan than the previous Bing UI — or “clean” if you prefer. As Google has added more graphics, icons and features to its SERPs some have complained that the pages are starting to look cluttered or bloated.

The Bing blog says that the intent behind the new SERP is to a create a “fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster” and to make the page “easier to scan.”

Google and Bing Switch Places

Bing originally launched with a visually richer UI and an effort to bring more content and filters to the SERP (“answers not links”). Bing’s more “visual” and somewhat “warmer” UI were differentiators from Google. But Bing’s new-look UI is much more Googly, although Microsoft would never describe it that way. In a way Google and Bing have now switched positions.

Below are two examples of the previous and the new Bing SERP. I compared the queries “search market share” and “best sushi in NYC.” Whether you like the new Bing SERP is partly going to be a function of personal taste and whether you feel nostalgia for a simpler SERP.

Old Bing

The “old UI” has fliters and refinements in the left column. Also notice the color and aesthetics of the page — the gray bar at the top and the “compressed” spacing between results and links. The new UI below is “longer,” with more “whitespace,” which does make the page more readable.

New Bing

The new UI also transfers the left-column filters to the lower part of  the right rail, below the ads.

Here’s another example for “best sushi restaurant in NYC.” The new UI is “cleaner” but loses some of the “personality” that Bing brought to the SERP — if I can say that.

Tapping “Nostalgia” for a Google Past?

One question is whether Bing loyalists will like the change. Another perhaps more interesting question is whether Google users pining for a simpler time will switch because this reminds them of an earlier Google. Regardless, my instinct and intial guess is that this will have a positive impact on Bing usage.

Tell us what you think. (The comments below are positive.) Do you like Bing’s new look? Do you think it’s a “contrarian” tactic designed to evoke a “simpler time”  in search?

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Bing User Interface | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Madhav Tripathi

    Bing is already a good search engine, many times I compare it with Google results and find there is not much difference. I like Bing but it is not easy to turn Google users to Bing, I am the perfect example in this case. I am used to using Google. 

  • Mike Davis

    I never used Bing’s “fliters” in the sidebar anyhoo, but tightening up the gap between search results and paid advertising does make better use of the space. 

  • Jack

    As a “Bing loyalist” for the past few years, I like the fresh new update. For one, it is much easier to read through quickly. I like how the redundant row of navigation links at the top on the old SERP is replaced with a single row that is more prominent and straight-forward. I also like how each green URL beneath every result has a small arrow next to it that drops down to reveal a “cache page” option, which was much harder to find on the old SERP. It appears that “Search History” is no longer shown on the new SERP, but you can still access it quickly through the options at the top. Overall, a welcome refresh that retains all the functionality, adds a few new features, and incorporates the modern Metro theme that defines the new Microsoft.

  • Tom Robertson

    I would hate to see the Google sidebar go, personally. I like a clean aesthetic as much as the next pretentious urban hipster, but I like functionality more. I probably refine at least 1 out of every 10 searches using the sidebar. By date is by far the best one, even for non-news results.

  • Angelique

    Your article came out at the right time, because I just noticed the “new” Bing! I’m a regular Bing user, and I like the change.

  • cutey

    Really nice change, simple is defiantly best for search.

  • Fionn Downhill

    I love it.  Oh the good old days.  Given the deterioration in so many of the Google SERPs due to Penguin this is a good time for Bing to change.  Google results for travel are now so awful I wont even use them.  They are cluttered and annoying.

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  • Matt

    I like the new look except for its lack of Colour.

    Hopefully when the new look launches on Bing Canada we’ll finally get Facebook integration. The Canadian Bing still can not be connected to Facebook. We also are missing many of Bing’s best features. No “Answers not Links”.

  • Brad Dalton

    Does anyone think Bing will ever overtake Google?

  • Gwen Harris

    No – hate this look – no search aids – no advanced search.

  • joris roos

    This way Bing is never going to take over Google

  • joris roos

    I found a new search engine called search safe, the link is here:

  • H. Caraway

    I am a big fan of what Bing is doing here.  I believe Google has reached the tipping point.  They have jerked with their SERPs too much by adding page previews, auto-fill, and an increasing amount of ad space.  Combined with the privacy issues and the perception of a Google monopoly, I think it is only a matter of time before users start jumping ship to something else.  I believe that something will be cleaner, more simple, and more private than what Google has evolved into.  I give Microsoft credit for paying attention and moving in that direction.  I suspect you will start hearing the name more frequently as well.

  • Debarup Mukherjee

    bingo :) Its time to move on….

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  • Christopher Hecker

    I really like the new, “simpler” look of Bing.  Though I still do the majority of my searches on Google, I am finding that I am using Bing more and more often all the time.

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