Windows 8.1 is the first product to be delivered under the "One Microsoft" ideology that outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer referred to when outlining the company's restructuring plan. In essence, all of the teams at Microsoft contributed to make Windows 8.1 an OS where every app contributes to the whole.
As part of that, one of the teams to get a bigger role in Windows 8.1 was the Bing team. With Windows 8.1, they launched an all new search tool called Bing Smart Search that pervades every nook and cranny of the new operating system.
So, you may now be wondering what exactly Bing Smart Search can do. The answer is quite a lot.
First off, search has been streamlined whilst on the Start screen in Windows 8.1. You no longer have to hit a search button. Now, you just have to start typing and a search tab will automatically appear with results. When in desktop mode, you will have to first press the Windows key and then start typing to make the search tab appear. Interestingly enough, the Bing team says that some Windows 8 machines will soon have a dedicated search key.
After you start searching, Bing Smart Search will bring you a number of results based upon what filters you have checked. If you allow it to search everywhere, it will bring up relevant results from the Web, settings, local files and files saved on SkyDrive.
If you search only the Web, Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1 will bring up a "summary of results pulled from the most relevant information across the Web and related apps." What does that mean? To use Microsoft's example, let's say you're searching for Marilyn Monroe. Upon completing the search, Windows 8.1 will not only display results from the Web, but it will also look through apps, like Wikipedia or The New York Times, to bring you relevant results pertaining to your search.
Bing Smart Search also supports the improved multitasking feature so that you can have Bing Smart Search occupy one half of the screen while you work on something else on the other half. With Windows 8.1, you can have up to four apps open at once so you could potentially be searching for a list of rare He-Man toys, perusing He-Man toys on eBay in Internet Explorer 11, watching the original He-Man series on Windows Media Player and reading the He-Man comic all at once.
For more on Bing Smart Search, check out the live demo below:
Bing Smart Search is now available as part of Windows 8.1 which is itself a free download on the Windows Store for Windows 8 users. You can find out more here.[Image: Bing]