Microsoft is testing live tiles across its Bing search engine homepage.
The software giant first announced its HTML5 version of Bing at the original beta launch of Internet Explorer 9 in September. Bing’s HTML5 version will include smooth animations to allow users to jump backwards in their search history. Bing will also introduce small, hovering windows as you scroll down the screen to keep navigation tabs in view and enable animated pictures and automatically generated slideshows so users can visually explore a search query.
Bing will also introduce an “instant” search similar to rival Google. The instant search will allow page elements to automatically transition as the user types their search query into the bing box. Microsoft was expected to make HTML5 Bing available as a beta preview version around the same time as Internet Explorer 9 was made available. Microsoft has so far remained silent on its HTML5 Bing plans after demonstrating the product several times over the past year. Rafael Rivera has spotted Microsoft’s latest test of Live Tiles on the Bing homepage, bringing a Metro look and feel to Bing. The live tiles work on a users location and provide weather, local news, mapping, targeted advertising and trends.
Microsoft’s Metro choice for Bing follows a number of a high profile company sites being overhauled. Microsoft has previously updated its online store look and feel to match the Metro look and feel and its download site and MSDN site. Microsoft’s Metro design language is an internal code name for a typography-based design languages created and used by the company. Microsoft originally started using Metro in Media Center and showcased a full version in the company’s Zune products. Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, also features the Metro look and feel throughout. Microsoft is planning Metro style user interfaces across Windows 8, Xbox 360 and Office 15. The software giant uses the tile and text user interface for its existing Windows Phone devices and will sync all of its user interfaces into one unified vision for its next range of products due in 2012.
Microsoft appears to be testing the new interface internally. Microsoft workers began tweeting about HTML5 Bing earlier this week (see here and here). The broader testing appears to indicate that Microsoft may be ready to push the updates public in production or test form. Let us know in the comments if you pick up the new interface on your travels.
Image Credit: Rafael Rivera (withinwindows.com)