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September 17, 2013

Microsoft Streamlines Bing Search Engine, Redesigns Logo

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

For the first time in its four year history, Microsoft’s search engine Bing is getting a redesigned logo meant to tie it into the rest of the family. It’s more than the logo getting an overhaul, however.

As noted in a recent Microsoft blog, the search engine will become more streamlined, prefer “insight over just lists of facts” and will continue to tie together the software company's growing list of hardware platforms. Bing.com will also adopt a two-column design, combining Snapshot and Sidebar into the site. Microsoft built these two functionalities into Bing last year. The new Bing logo is now set in the Segoe font, a choice made to bring in more Swedish and international style cues to the Microsoft brand.

In a blog post, Microsoft senior director of brand and creative Scott Erickson said the idea to change the logo wasn’t simply about picking a new font, but rather creating a design that tied Bing into Microsoft visually as much as it does technologically. From a corporate font to the earth tone-ish hues of Microsoft’s four square icon, the new Bing logo looks at home with the rest of the Redmond, Washington-based company's offerings.

“We retained the lowercase ‘b’ in tribute to our Bing logo heritage and to provide a slightly less obtrusive stance,” writes Erickson in his blog post explaining the changes to the logo.

"The symbol, a stylized ‘b’, evokes a sense of movement, direction and energy. The color loosely pays tribute to the orange dot from the previous Bing logo while also fully embracing the Microsoft color palette and taking inspiration from one quadrant of the corporate flag logo,” he adds.

The spacing between the ‘i’ and ’n’ in Bing also match the spacing between the same letters in the Windows wordmark for added uniformity.

Recently Yahoo!, which uses Bing to power its search engine, also changed its logo after a month’s worth of decoy logos.

Erickson makes a point to separate Bing from just another search engine to another piece of software technology meant to unify several hardware platforms. The technologies and algorithms that collectively make up Bing are also found in Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox. Bing will also support “Cortana,” Microsoft’s pending intelligent digital assistant akin to Siri or Google Now.

The new Bing.com, set to be available to the public later today, will now tie in Snapshot and Sidebar directly into the search results. These two features, announced last May, bring social elements and actionable items for every day searches. Both have been a part of Bing.com since they were announced, but Microsoft plans to more deeply integrate these into the new Bing search. Sidebar allows Bing users to sign into their Facebook accounts and recruit their friends to help them search. Should a user have a well-listened friend and wants to search for new music, he/she can tag this friend and ask them to point them in the right direction.

Snapshot gives searchers the opportunity to complete tasks right within the search. For example, a user looking for hotel rooms can book a reservation right within search rather than click the link to the hotel site and navigate it from there.