Microsoft retools Bing Search for Windows Phone 8

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is releasing an updated version of its Bing search tool for Windows Phone 8, delivering a streamlined user interface and new feature options.

Microsoft revamped its Bing searching tool for its Windows Phone 8 operating system.

The over-the-air Bing update--rolling out to U.S. Windows Phone 8 device owners in the coming weeks, with additional markets to follow soon after--presents users with three different search result categories: Web, Images and Videos. The current Bing offers Web, Local, Media and Shopping categories.

"Why the design change?" writes Microsoft Editor Michael Stroh. "As useful as some of the existing views might seem, many people just don't use them all--or know that they're there, Bing product manager Alisher Saydalikhodjayev told me. Consolidating and streamlining the views should reduce confusion and help people find what they're looking for more easily." Stroh also promised more information on the first search result screen to reduce swiping, bolstered by fresher local results and more efficient access to merchant directions and phone numbers.

Bing for Windows Phone 8 also boasts an expanded set of Instant Answers, designed to save users from opening other apps or navigating away from the search results page. The new update incorporates 10 new Instant Answers like traffic, flight status, exchange rates, word definitions and translations. "For example, search for 'Define Awesome' to get the dictionary definition right there on the search results page," Stroh states. "Or 'USD JPY' to find out how the U.S. Dollar is doing against the Yen."

The Bing update also brings richer results for popular sites. "For example, say you search for 'Delta Airlines,'" Stroh explains. "Bing shows delta.com as the top result, but also provides links to Flight Status, SkyMiles, Track Flight, Flight Schedules and other popular destinations within the site, saving some taps." The Images and Videos categories additionally support infinite scrolling, complete with larger, auto-sized thumbnails.

Windows Phone 8 powers 3.9 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide during the second quarter of 2013, up from 3.6 percent in the year-ago quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The Microsoft OS follows far behind Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android at 79.5 percent and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 13.6 percent.

For more:
- read this Windows Phone Blog post

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