Yesterday when I was looking for images of Kenny Chesney on Bing Image search, I noticed that something looked a little different. For one, it seemed like my browser page was a lot fuller than I remembered it being when I searched for photoshop fodder on Bing. I also didn't remember bigger previews of the images following my mouse cursor around as I poured over the pictures. Since I already looked through a ton of Kenny Chesney photos yesterday, I'm going to use a different subject for my example of the preview-tracking-mouse thing.
In my image search for Fletcher Hanks, you can see in these two examples how the preview image that gets magnified follows my cursor around as long as the cursor is still over the associated image.
There weren't any noxious, hallucinogenic fumes - that I noticed, at least - seeping from my office walls yesterday that would have lifted these images up and caused them to move around before my very eyes. Further confirming that my brain and eyes were not being victimized by psychoactive drugs is a post from the Bing Image Search Blog today confirming that, yes, the search engine's image search got a sweeping update for its user interface. And that trippy image movement I was talking about? Bing's apparently calling that a "magnifying glass," which is actually more descriptive than my "hallucinogenic preview" term.
If you haven't tried out the new Bing Search yet, perhaps the most obvious change you will notice is that the thumbnails themselves are much bigger while reducing the whitespace between the images significantly. The page of search results now resembles a photographer's contact sheet rather than a photo album page of spaced out pockets for pictures.
In addition to the aesthetic candy, there are several new tools to help modify your search in order to find the precise image you're looking for:
Easier access to the filter bar.
There's now a column to the right of the search results that displays two different features that might help you narrow down your image search. At the top of the column you'll see Related Topics, which lists more specified suggestions of your original search term. Beneath that, you'll see Trending Image Searches in case you're curious about what's catching the public's eye at the moment.
In all, Bing Image's overhaul is spectacular in both design and usability. If you need to search for something different or modify your current search, you literally don't have to go anywhere other than to the screen that is right in front of you at any given time. No clicking back. No more scrolling back up to the top of the page to make some changes. The control panel stays right with you during your search.
After this big update, there's only one question remaining now: how long it will take before Google apes this awesome design?