"Tiles" seem to be the new design metaphor -- or at least the buzzword du jour -- all across Microsoft as of late.
Windows Phone 7 has made extensive use of the tiles/Live tiles concept. The automatically updating tiles on WP7 devices are key to Microsoft's design and its advertising strategy for the devices.
But it seems "tiles" also are coming to Bing, as first noted by Liveside.Net. Microsoft is in the midst of adding authority/reputation tiles to Bing to help users wade through search results to find the most accurate and trusted results. There will be close to 50 Bing tiles to start,with more to be added in the future. The Bing tiles are not sponsored/paid links and won't affect "organic" search results, Microsoft execs told LiveSide.
There also was a report this week that the Windows 8 user interface for slate/tablet devices (referred to by some by its codename "MoSH," for Modern Shell) may rely on the tile metaphor. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted this might be the case last year, as some may recall, when he hinted that Windows slates could make use of the "Big Buttons" concepts from Windows Media Center. Media Center is considered the first Microsoft offering to have used the typography-centric "Metro" interface that later made it onto the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7.