Bing Copies Pinterest's Approach To Image Search

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Last week, Bing announced a redesigned image search experience across both desktop and mobile. The changes, it says, will result in more traffic to websites. In fact, it suggested that site will not only get more traffic, but higher quality, targeted traffic.

While this hasn't fully rolled out yet, Bing has been giving guidance to webmasters to help them take advantage of this traffic. This involves including markup like, OpenGraph, etc. More on all of that here.

On Friday, Bing made another Image Search announcement. This one is all about users being able to type less and find images more quickly on mobile devices. The update is for both iOS and Android.

"We know you love to discover images on your mobile devices. Our goal for Bing’s image search is to help you be inspired, learn more, and quickly find great images on any device," says Bing in a blog post.

"The best news about Bing’s new image search? No typing required to discover more," it says. "Typing on mobile phones is hard. Typos are common and are a pain to fix on small screens. This is particularly painful for image searchers, who tend to refine and expand their searches a lot. How do we make searching easier without typing? We’re happy to take on that challenge."

Here's a video looking at what they've done.

Look familiar? That's probably because it's nearly identical to Pinterest's Guided Search:



As Bing puts it, search terms are "bubbled" in the search box into "intelligent groups," and you can "pivot your search around each entity" by tapping the bubbles. You can use the "smart suggestion bubbles" to refine your search.

So, yeah, it's exactly like Pinterest's Guided Search. And that's fine, because Pinterest's Guided Search was a major improvement to search on that service.

"As we build a discovery engine, searching is a key way for Pinners to find and save ideas Pinned by others," a spokesperson for Pinterest told WebProNews in January. "Searches derived from clicking on guides is one of the major sources of our search traffic, with guide clicking up 3x over the last 6 months.”

Bing is no doubt hoping for such an increase in image search traffic.

Pinterest must really be on to something with its search improvements if Bing is emulating them. Bing has historically followed more of a Google path on feature additions, while certainly taking on some of its own approaches. It's pretty interesting, however, that Bing is favoring Pinterest's style for such a staple of the search experience as opposed to the Google style.

Of course Google Image Search does operate in a similar fashion, but includes thumbnail images for its version of "guides" and provides a much more limited amount of suggestions.

Bing doesn't mention Pinterest as an inspiration for the feature, but it was as major component of the redesign announced last week. Where available, Bing Image Search will show Pinterest collections with the image, among other things, including where to buy products. Bing has actually been utilizing Pinterst boards in image search since 2013, but the redesign improves the integration. It did say that the Pinterest feature would be expanded to include sites beyond Pinterest.

Images via Bing, Pinterest

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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