Microsoft is starting its rollout of its spring Bing refresh on March 25, which will include a number of user interface changes to the company's search engine.
About five percent of U.S. customers, as of today, will see the Spring refresh changes, with the rest of the U.S. seeing them in the coming weeks as part of a gradual rollout. These changes may or may not come to international Bing users, Microsoft officials said, as the company maintains different, localized versions of Bing across the world.
The most obvious changes in the Bing spring refresh are happening at the user interface level. (The spring Bing UI/UX is codenamed "Oslo"; the fall refresh was codenamed "Dublin.")
Among the changes in the coming release will be a new "Bing box," which provides a number of aggregated results -- including some real-time results-- in a single pane. A query on "Lady Gaga," for example, will result in a box that includes a link to her official site, a list of upcoming tour dates, a photo and her latest tweet. (Check out these screen shots of the new Bing user interface to see more.)
The new refresh also will add "Quick Tabs" to the top of a number of popular query results, making it easier for users to find news, images, video and other commonly searched-for information. Microsoft also is tweaking the left-rail results, replacing the current "quick query" ones with (official hope) more relevant and clickable ones that will help users define their queries.
Microsoft also is adding what it is callign Domain Task Pages to Bing, starting with today's refresh. The first of these pages is "Autos," where users' most often-queried terms will result in pages that surface information in a way that makes it easier to find in a single place. All U.S. customers will see the new Autos DTP starting today. Microsoft also is adding a new "Comparison Answers" capability to the Bing engine, with sports being the first category for which this capability will be available. Microsoft is starting the rollout of Comparison Answers for Sports today, with five percent of Bing users seeing it, as of March 25.
Microsoft also will be releasing Autosuggest improvements for all Bing mobile users, providing quicker results for queries on stock quotes and other commonly searched information, Microsoft officials said.