As I've blogged before, just because I'm a professional Microsoft watcher by day, I am not required to use only Microsoft products. In fact, I use a number of non-Microsoft ones. My rule of thumb is use the best tool for the job.
A couple of months ago, I switched my default search engine in my Chrome browser to Bing. There have been a few times I've been dissatisified with the results of a query, but mostly I've found Bing search on my PC to be solid. (Bing local results on my Windows Phone are another not-so-good story, however.)
On May 2, I was pleasantly surprised to see a redesigned Bing results page pop up when I did my first search of the day. (click on the image above to see the latest look.)
Is the redesign an example of a design that's more Metro-fied (but not Metro-Style, which means something uses the WinRT programming interfaces -- just to keep things confusing interesting)? Maybe. Microsoft's definition of Metro is rather fluid (but not fast and fluid -- again, that's something else entirely).
Some claim that Microsoft's redesign makes Bing look more like Google. Others say the redesign makes Bing's results look less like Google's. As TechCrunch noted in a post about the new look from earlier today, there have been other Bing design tweaks, including making social (i.e. Facebook integration) more subtle; and the replacement of the tabbed header with a new and cleaner set of links.
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Michael Gillet noted that the Bing redesign has resulted in the disappearance of some features, like hover-over previews. In addition, from what some of my other Twitter pals are saying, it sounds like the new design is -- at least for now -- a U.S. only thing. I've asked Microsoft when it plans to roll out this new look and feel to other geographies.
In a May 2 post on the Bing Community blog, the Bing team said there are other changes beyond the UI. The new Bing results page should also bring faster load times and increased relevance, the team said.
Update: Here are a couple of answers from a Bing spokesperson about questions around this latest UI overhaul:
When will those outside the U.S. see the redesigned Bing results page? Today’s launch is US only. At this time, we have no additional plans to share.
Has Microsoft scrapped its plans to do an HTML5 version of the Bing UI? We’re always looking at how technology can benefit the search experience – HTML5 can offer some interesting opportunities that can scale across platforms and browsers without plugins but we’re cautious about doing things simply because we can.
I'm a fan of less clutter. I like the latest design. You?