Gets a Mobile Makeover

Bing is now sporting a new look on smartphones, a move the company claims will provide a better search experience while on the move.

Bing mobile search

Microsoft has revamped the Bing homepage for iOS and Android smartphones, aligning the mobile search experience with the expectations of users that engage with on their iPhones and Android handsets, according to the company.

In an April 10 announcement, Microsoft revealed some of the fine tuning its Bing Homepage team performed to come up with Bing's new look for mobile devices. "Based on numerous A/B experiments, we've determined that users prefer a swipe-up card layout (~5-10 percent swipe-up rate), a translucent color scheme and ~50 [pixel] initial card peak height," stated the company.

On-screen, those tweaks add up to a minimalist interface adorned by Bing's trademark feature, the full-screen Image of the Day (IOTD) backdrop, which usually depicts exotic locales, landmarks and wildlife. With the updated mobile homepage, IOTD gets its own dedicated card that users can call up to learn more about the day's image.

Mobile Search

While Bing is well-known for its photo-centric site design and search capabilities, not everyone is pleased by Microsoft's approach to Web imagery.

Last week, Microsoft and Seattle-based Getty Images settled a lawsuit filed in New York related to the Bing Image Widget. Pulled soon after the complaint, the widget allowed webmasters to embed a photos gleaned from the Web into their sites based on search queries or keywords.

In the Sept. 4 court filing, Getty claimed that the widget infringed on its copyrights. "Rather than draw from a licensed collection of images, [Microsoft] gathers these images by crawling as much of the Internet as it can, copying and indexing every image it finds, without regard to the copyright status of the images and without permission from copyright owners like [Getty Images]," stated Getty's lawsuit. According to Getty, the company is home to "more than 80 million unique works of digital imagery."

While still at the forefront, images have now have new competition for the attention of mobile Bing users.

The new Popular Now card borrows from the desktop version of Bing's news carousel, one of the home page's "most highly engaged features," claimed Microsoft. "With that in mind, we are bringing the desktop's news carousel experience to mobile. We select the top trending stories for you and update them throughout the day."

Microsoft is also working on personalizing Popular Now. "Moving forward, we will continue to make these stories even more relevant and personal," revealed the Bing Team.

Members of the Bing Rewards program will also have an easier time of tracking their progress on their smartphones. "To facilitate their experience, we created a new Rewards card and gave it prime real-estate," said the company. "This card gives you a convenient entry point to Bing Rewards and a quick way to view your status."

Similarly, the new Settings card provides quick access to Safe Search options and other preferences. Finally, the Footer Card has been updated with a feedback link.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...