Microsoft has added new features to its Bing search engine, along with a refreshed logo and look in order to help it better compete with the monolithic Google.
The logo has been redesigned, as has the home page, but the big changes, according to Microsoft, are the ones you can't see.
One of the key new features is Page Zero. Building on traditional auto-fill suggestions, Bing will also instantly provide relevant information and options for exploration as users input their queries.
Lawrence Ripsher, Microsoft's general manager of user experience at Bing, used the official blog to explain the new features:
For example, if you type Katy Perry, we understand what you're looking for before you've even searched and give you a quick glance of who she is and suggest other popular search tasks associated with the singer.
The Pole Position feature comes into play with "high confidence" queries. When Bing is certain it has clear data related to a user's intended search, Pole Position will show information at the top of the page in a larger, integrated format.
The search engine has also made changes to Snapshots, the service that offers quick answers to queries about people, places and things. The redesigned feature has been combined with Sidebar, which provides Knowledge Graph-style information from users' social networks.
Rispher says that the new combined Snapshots will "provide people with all the supporting context they'll need for any given query".
For example, consider a search for "Highway 1". Bing knows there are many possible things you might be looking for. Our new design displays both the factual data about this beautiful route (length, date, related places) and also the human perspective, whether they be status updates, photos, tweets, check-ins or expert opinions.
The new features are likely to form part ofthat aims for a digital assistant, similar to Siri, that works across the multiple platforms offered by the company.
Microsoft has a long way to go with Bing. According to StatCounter, in the six months from March to August this year, Google accounted for 90.07 per cent of all search engine traffic globally, with Bing the next largest at 3.73 per cent.