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Have you seen Bing’s new infographic-style search panel?

Posted on March 11, 2021

 

Statistically, the answer to the question in the title is probably no, since only 4.91% of online searches are made via Microsoft’s Bing. Nonetheless, those who do use it may have noticed a visual revamp to their search results in recent days.

The most notable of them is a side panel that picks out information about some queries and presents them in the style of an infographic. For example, a search for “banana” now brings up a panel on the right-hand side giving a visual breakdown of some facts about the fruit, such as where it comes from, its nutritional properties and other foods it can be found in. The sources for the information provided are listed at the bottom of the panel, and show Bing to be pooling together info from the likes of Wikipedia, Listverse, LiveScience.com and its own data, along with images from Getty.

The feature seems limited to commonly known animals and plants at the moment (try “giraffe”, “elephant” and “tomato” for some similar visual briefings), and ones where there is little ambiguity over what the user is searching for – from example, a search for “apple” doesn’t generate one as most of the results are about the tech company.

In a blog post last week, Bing said this was one of several “visually immersive” features being introduced to its services, arguing they can save the user time as well. These include an image-first approach to returning searches for recipe or home improvement ideas, where a collage of relevant images appears at the top of the page.

From visiting industry-relevant events like SasCON in recent years, we’re aware at Engage Web that Bing has long tried to market itself as a more visual alternative to Google, including attempting to lead the way in image search. Microsoft representatives at these events have spoken of the possibly of a more intuitive form of reverse image search, whereby a user can take a picture of a car, T-shirt or piece of jewellery they like, feed the image into a search engine and get details about what it is and where they can buy it.

Whether it’s Bing that spearheads it or not, there’s little doubt that the internet is becoming more visually immersive, which means it’s important to back up great content with eye-catching images and smart web design. For a website that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is rich in content and information, talk to Engage Web.

John Murray
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